Children and young people start smoking for a number of reasons including growing up in families where smoking is seen as normal. But other factors like peer pressure, tobacco promotion and seeing smoking in films play a role in increasing the appeal.
Tobacco companies spend tens of millions of pounds globally on promoting tobacco products that kill one in two long term users. Packs that resemble perfume, and with designs resembling Lego, are commonplace on our shelves - promoting smoking as glamorous, desirable and normal.
Fresh has campaigned in favour of laws designed to reduce tobacco promotion both at the point of sale and on the pack itself, which many young people say would reduce the temptation of tobacco.
Fresh is urging the Government to put our children first and back proposals to protect children in the North East from tobacco marketing. Standardised packs were introduced in Australia in December 2012. Evidence shows they would make tobacco packs less attractive and end the deception that cigarettes sold in white or silver packs are less harmful than those in black, gold and red packs.
More than 13,500 people and 129 organisations in the North East - including every local authority - came out in support of standardised packs during the Department of Health consultation in 2012. All 12 councils reiterated their support when the Department of Health consulted on draft regulations for standardised packaging in 2014. The Fresh response to the 2014 consultation can be found here.
Despite reductions in smoking, the North East still has higher than average rates of young people smoking and taking up the addiction, with 9,000 children starting each year. The average age that North East smokers started is just 15, with some starting as young as 9 years old.
You can find more details about standardised packaging of tobacco on the relevant page on the Action on Smoking and Health website.