Cancer charity's warning as 30 kids a day start smoking
CANCER charity bosses have warned as many as 30 youngsters in Wales are taking up smoking per day ahead of pupils heading back for the new term.
Shock figures show there is a real tobacco problem among children aged between 11 and 15-years-old.
The warning comes from Cancer Research UK as part of its Setting the Standard campaign, which is calling for urgent action over the issue.
In Swansea there were around 190 cases of lung cancer between 2008 and 2010, while in Carmarthenshire there were 130 cases and in Neath Port Talbot there were a further 120 cases of the disease.
The charity says the findings underline how important it is for the Government to commit to plain, standardised packaging of tobacco.
Research suggests that children find standard packs far less appealing.
Alison Birkett, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Wales, has revealed more than 11,000 youngsters take up the habit.
Every year, a total of 2,300 people in Wales are diagnosed with lung cancer and 1,800 people die from the disease.
She said: "The excitement of starting a new term is in stark contrast to the reality of the number of children who will start smoking every day. In Wales alone, this is 11,137 children every year.
"With many 11-year-olds starting secondary school for the first time next week, it's imperative that we try to help our local youngsters by setting the standard and protecting them from tobacco marketing. "That's why we are renewing our appeal to the government for cigarettes to be sold in plain, standard packs rather than in the glitzy branding that make cigarettes more alluring to young people."
Eight out of 10 adult smokers start by the age of 19 and around 27 per cent of all under 16s have tried smoking at least once — the equivalent of one million children across Britain.
Standard packs have already been rolled out in Australia but the Westminster Government has delayed its decision to bring in a new law for standard packs to protect children. Go to www.cruk/org/standard-packs