This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

NOW CLOSED Please talk to Cancer Research UK about cigarette branding on packs and how to stop children from starting smoking

(77 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 25-Jun-12 15:16:43

The folks at Cancer Research UK would like to find out what effect Mumsnetters think cigarette branding and packaging has on children.

Cancer Research UK is campaigning for putting cigarettes in plain, standardised packs, because its research shows it will make smoking less appealing to children. So although the campaign isn't aimed at current smokers, the charity is still keen to get a view from everyone.

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?

Thanks for taking part,
MNHQ

Tee2072 Mon 25-Jun-12 15:26:17

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?

Nope. My boyfriend did. I smoked what he smoked (Marlborough Lights, if you want to know) and continued to smoke long after I broke up with him.

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?

Nothing, except that it's the same brand I stayed with through all my years of smoking. As said above, my then boyfriend's brand.

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?

Quit just about a year ago. I never notice packaging.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?

My son is only 3 so not an issue yet. I imagine we'll talk about it at some point. I doubt he notices anything.

suzikettles Mon 25-Jun-12 15:32:03

I remember the Marlboro Red soft packs being an object of huge desire when I was a teenager (probably because you couldn't get them here at the time, but also I think they featured quite a bit in US popular culture).

When I smoked it was mainly Marlboro Red, until I swapped to Silk Cut because it was "healthier" <bangs naive 20something head off the wall>.

There was a definite hierarchy of brands when I was a teen/early 20s: B&H gold box - bikers, Silk Cut: girls, Marlboro: indie kids, Super Kings/Kensitas Club - what people who were skint smoked.

Packaging was a huge part of the whole thing. Less so once you were hooked and just smoked because that was what you did.

Greenshadow Mon 25-Jun-12 15:50:47

Have never smoked (come from a family of non-smokers and have never had a partner who smoked).
I do however have a DS of 19 who smokes moderately.

He and most of his friends started at about 17 and only smoke roll-ups so would guess packaging of actual cigarettes doesn't have much impact. From what I can tell, most younger people round here also roll their own.

I am not very aware of current cigarette packaging, although do know that health warnings are now very prominent. Was very much aware of packaging in my teens (70s and 80s) when I followed motor racing closely and many of the teams were sponsored by (and named after) cigarette companies.

My 2 younger children think their older brother is silly to smoke, but this may change when peer-pressure comes into play within their social groups. they are all very aware if my feelings about tobacco and it is a subject freely discussed. Unfortunately older children do seem to find it 'funny' to buy/give cigarettes to younger ones - would love to see this stop.

Coops79 Mon 25-Jun-12 15:54:20

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?
I didn't actually know what the brand of my first cigarette was and I knew nothing about the different brands when I started. A cigarette was a cigarette; I just wanted to have the experience of smoking. Once I was able to buy cigarettes the brand became more important. Marlboro/Lights were my preferred choice while B&H were considered a bit rough/lower class.

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?
These days I don't pay much attention but I am aware that particular brands have particular followers, particularly if a celebrity appears to favour one brand over another.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?
As a Secondary School teacher we do a lot of work against smoking. Those students who do choose to smoke do take a lot of interest in the brand or manner in which they smoke. For example, they will take great pride in the skill of rolling-up and try to show off knowledge about particular brands/types of tobacco. Smoking for these students is a sort of exclusive club that they belong to. I think that getting rid of recognisable packaging is a good idea but we should probably not get too excited about how much impact it will have.

ProfCoxWouldGetIt Mon 25-Jun-12 16:31:13

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?
I started smoking because my BF at the time smoked, so I smoked whatever he did, and then carried on with the brand but now smoke what ever is cheapest
The packaging played no part in my choice of cigarrette, and still doesn't, but I tend to use a cigarette case that was given to me years ago.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?
MY DD is only 2, and I only smoke at work, or after she has gone to bed, I'm sure we'll need to discuss it at some point, she doesn't get exposed to cigarette packets as none of our friends smoke and mine are kept out of sight and reach

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 25-Jun-12 16:51:39

I started smoking because all of my family and friends didn't. They all hated it so I was drawn to it like a little moth to a flame. I used to smoke Marlborough because I liked the packet.

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?
First one was horrible but I was determined so I stuck with it.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place?
Tell them it makes you stink and that only old, wrinkly, dribbly people smoke fags. Market them as being unattractive - fags are for mad old grannies that smell of cat wee etc.

Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do?
It's been brought up but I'm deliberately not making a big thing of it - my children, like a teenage me, are more likely to try something if it's forbidden or dangerous. If it's not as forbidden it's not interesting. If it's acceptable but horrible (think wee-smelling grannies), it's repellant.

My children wouldn't know actual brands of fags if they fell over them. I doubt that they even know how many are in a packet and they'd be horrified if they knew how much they cost.

wimbledonisfuckingdull Mon 25-Jun-12 16:59:46

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?
No,packaging had no influence. I was 12 when I started. To me, it was cost. I could buy 10 No 6 and a box of matches with my dinner money.

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried? I didn't really like it, but persevered.

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?
My DD is just a year younger than I was when I started. She hates it and calls me a fool. I am just in the middle of stopping. Again. I honestly think she won't start because of the cost and my DH doesn't smoke and the views of her school mates.
Sorry for the rude name.

TheTempest Tue 26-Jun-12 10:32:40

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?

I'm a non smoker (of 6 months) after 10 years of 20 a day. It was less the packaging, more the peer pressure and the fact that I had grown up with my dad smoking.

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?

It was a silk cut purple, stolen from my dad's packet. When I started buying them myself it was Mayfair smooth that I smoked. Other than a brief dalliance with other brands (B&H, sovereign if I was skint, and Malborough Lights when I was trying to be 'cool'), I smoked Mayfair right up until I quit.

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?

mayfair sets off cravings, all others I don't even notice.

MoaningMinnieWhingesAgain Tue 26-Jun-12 10:54:58

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?

No, I started with an occasional cigarette I stole out of my mum's packet. She smoked Silk Cut and then they did have lovely adverts on the back of magazines though. I never really liked them much and bought different ones when I bought my own- Malboro Red or B&H. Not sure if the packaging made any difference to me, except I was proud to have B&H rather than 'cheap' fags like Lambert and Butler. Nowadays I smoke a brand that is cheaper than Lambert and Butler, the cheapest ones I have found that are still pleasant IYKWIM. But I started when you could get 20 B&H and a box of matches with change left from £2

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried? N/A

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all? N/A

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?

I haven't had to cross this bridge yet as my children are both under 6. No smoking indoors, but I hate that seeing us smoke may 'normalise' it for them. I am embarrassed that I still smoke, frankly, and know I need to stop. I certainly want to stop before my children understand what a stupid and dangerous thing I keep doing, not to mention the huge financial cost. When I was a child I was very antismoking, but then curiosity got the better of me.

Bonsoir Tue 26-Jun-12 11:31:42

Yes, I would have thought that disallowing branding of cigarettes might be effective in making them less attractive to children.

swearytramp Tue 26-Jun-12 11:36:52

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?
I started smoking at 16 and smoked JPS because my 'cool' friends did, the packaging was black and moody!

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried? N/A

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all? N/A

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?

All three of my children (22, 12 and 6) absolutley loathe smoking. I am outstounded that my eldest has never tried it, but I guess she was put off by me. We do all discuss it - and the youngest ones get very upset about me smoking, they hate the smell, the coughing and that I 'might die' sad I have to say, I am in the middle of yet another attempt to stop as did for three years and have just done three onths, only to start again, with numerous attempts inbetween. I think they do notice brands - as the youngest sometimes spots the ones I smoke and says 'look, like yours!'
They are also very aware of the financial implications as dh keeps reminding me, in their hearing of how much i spend sad

Posey Tue 26-Jun-12 12:51:56

Don't smoke now but did in the past. First cigarettes were Silk Cut. No idea why. Tried Marlboro and Camel for a while as they seemed "cooler" hmm but actually didn't like them.

My top tip for trying to prevent my kids from starting is to remind them about how awful I was when I wanted to stop. I said "one day in the future you will want to stop smoking. All smokers want to stop. You will be worrying about each little pain, is it a heart attack? You will notice your skin getting more lined and grey. You will try to stop on several occasions and you will really struggle. You will be horrible to your family as you try and stop. You may stop for a short while then because you are still addicted you will smoke in secret which makes you feel really rubbish. Then you will admit that you're smoking again and feel like you've let yourself and everyone down.. Yu will probably repeat your attempt several times. You will worry about health, money, the effect on your family. People who never start smoking don't have to go through this torture. Don't do it. You witnessed all the above in me and it was rubbish. Don't do it"

I have been a happy non-smoker now for 7 years smile

Slubberdegullion Tue 26-Jun-12 13:19:01

pov from lifetime non smoker.

I never notice cigarette packaging. Wouldn't have a clue about the different brands or what they look like. Very much doubt my dc have noticed either, I suspect the only place they could see them would be the local newsagents where they eye is much more likely to be drawn to the vast array of sweets, chocolate and sparkly kids magazines.

Re tips to stop them smoking, have already touched upon and will continue to do so in more detail as they get older the quite spectacularly large number of extremely unpleasant pathologies you can and and are likely to develop should you smoke. As dh and I both work/are studying health care professionals we can bang on about personal patient experiences at quite some length.

If that doesn't put them off for life I'm hopeful that the govt continuing to tax fags so they are exorbitantly expensive should help.

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?

No, I started smoking aged 13 and smoked whatever brand people were handing round. When I started buying them, it was important to know a brand name so I knew what to ask for. By the time kids start buying fags they are already surrounded by smokers and know the lingo. I can't see how packaging would change this.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place?

I think the most effective angle to take is to talk about addiction. Kids are relatively unaffected by talking about the health risks. Either they think they're immortal or can't imagine ever being over about 30 anyway. Addiction is not cool and it's really not fun being a slave to a chemical. That's the angle I've taken with my DC.

AppleCrumbleAndFish Tue 26-Jun-12 14:33:44

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?
My first cigarette was Gold Bond. It was a long time ago and they no longer exist. I think brands were important to me, although I've never given it much thought. I am surprised to see Marlboro mentioned so many times. I smoked Marlboro red or Winston (preferably in soft packs). As someone has said I switched to Silk Cut believing them to be less evil (I won't say healthy). I latterly moved back to Marlboro lights before becoming a non smoker just over 11 months ago.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?
my DDs are 18 and 15. To my knowledge neither have tried smoking. DD2 in particular disliked me smoking. I have told them I will be very disappointed with them if they ever take up smoking. I very much doubt either will. I sincerely hope not anyway.

LineRunner Tue 26-Jun-12 14:37:29

I first smoked at 13. I bought a packet of ten Number 6, and I remember the blue and turquoise bands on the pack to this day. The were considered a bit cool, a bit edgy, back in the 70s. You would let people 'accidentally' see them in your satchel. Pathetic now, to think of it. I haven't smoked for a long time because I woke up to the terrible health risks.

I hope I have put my kids off ever smoking by talking about the health risks, the cynical manufacturers, the cynical governments, and the costs.

I do agree that bland packaging is worth trying.

MummyDoIt Tue 26-Jun-12 15:44:54

I've never smoked so I don't really notice cigarette branding. What I do notice is "Smoking Kills" in big letters and I wonder how people can ignore that.

My DSs are 8 and 9 and we've spoken about smoking - how bad it is for your health, how expensive it is, how hard it is to stop. We've had conversations about how their friends might persuade them to try and might call them names if they don't but how they should not be pushed into it. I'll continue to have those conversations with them and hope that it gives them the strength to resist peer pressure.

It's easy to ignore because it's not telling people anything they don't already know and they see it so often they just tune it out.

poshbird1 Tue 26-Jun-12 16:03:00

First brand I smoked was Silk Cut (I was 13) because my Grandpa smoked that brand for years and years and I remember it had quite cool advertising in the newspapers and magazines.

I was also influenced by my older brother who'd been caught smoking and I thought it sounded naughty and cool and grown-up, all at the same time and I thought I'd like some of that please. I was fed up of being the good child.

I moved onto Malboro Lights as they seemed cool too. Looking back, I was heavily influenced by I guess the 'men' in my life, the advertising and the idea that smoking was 'grown-up', frowned upon, a rebellious action etc.

How to stop my kids from smoking. I've got no idea. The plain packaging would certainly help cancel out the 'brand' element.

I'm not sure it's ever going to stop the sense that smoking is appealing to young people who feel a desire to be rebellious/individual/grown-up whatever.

They are so cheap (well, they're a cheap way of being naughty) at £6 it's going to be a hard sell to find something else that will achieve the same kind of naughtiness so cheaply.

I smoked for a further 13 years on and off, giving up properly when I was 26. I was only ever a social smoker, but on a night out could easily smoke 2 packs of 20.

Giving up was not hard for me to do. I have extreme willpower for certain things. I don't think I was ever physically addicted either so it's easier for someone like me. I still sniff them in the street and have a love-hate relationship with them. and I will probably smoke another one or two before I die.

I wish someone had told me at 13 that I'd grow to regret starting to smoke at such a young age and for continuing for so long. But lectures from my teachers and mum and dad fell on dear ears. You have to let people make their own mistakes and learn as they go to some extent. If only it didn't risk your life in the process....when you'll be far too old to go back to that early person and tap them on the shoulder and say hey - that's really not necessary - you're going to grow into the most amazing person, who doesn't need to do that, who will find respect and happiness from wonderful people. You don't need to impress anyone but yourself.

LineRunner Tue 26-Jun-12 16:06:34

Oh, and another thing - I went through a phase as a student smoking Gitanes precisely because of the packaging.

God knows what they did to me.

WyrdMother Tue 26-Jun-12 16:29:45

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not?

Do not smoke now.

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried?

It was Benson and Hedges because that's what the Boyfriend I was with at the time smoked and I'd have a couple of his from time to time and it built up from there. I do remember that they had distinctive gold packets, but I also remember the purple packets of the Carlton Premium my mother used to smoke quite clearly.

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?

Now that they are hidden away I can't really say for sure what they look like now. The only friend I have who still smokes, smokes Lambert and Butler in a silver packet with stripes. I think I only notice cigarette packaging if it has some personal association, for example I see the friend I mentioned with the same brand all the time, otherwise I don't think about it at all.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?

We have discussed with our child why we have stopped smoking, principally family health. I didn't start smoking until I was out of my teens, I was actually very against it as a child because my mother smoked a huge amount and the whole house smelled and all my clothes had burns in them from where my Mother would smoke while she was ironing.

I would introduce children to the smell via smoke stinking clothes and then if at all possible, to how it feels to have your lungs impaired by smoking (Health and Safety nightmare to implement I'm sure). I never thought it affected me that much until I stopped, I never realised what I smelled like until I stopped and felt choked in my friends house or stood behind someone in a line that smells of smoke and find myself wanting to step back and hold my breath.

Other than that anything that makes smoking less cool, less bad, less rebellious has got to be a good thing and making the packaging bland definitely wont do any harm.

moonbells Tue 26-Jun-12 16:38:33

Lifetime non-smoker here. Grew up in a family where to begin with everyone did (late '60s) and they gradually gave up by the time I was a teen. I always hated the smell, and feeling sick when travelling. DH loathes them too and has never smoked.

Skipping to my first qu:
~If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?

Not really. I knew what they looked like when I was a kid as various grandparents used to leave their packs lying around. But no idea these days (except they're covered in warnings!)

~Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?

DS is 4. He has to listen to my derogatory comments on smoking so hopefully he'll either acquire the same desire to never see another ciggie, or he'll turn into a smoker. I am hoping they get banned before then.

CuppaTeaJanice Tue 26-Jun-12 17:08:05

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all?
I know Marlboro is red, and whatever the bitchy girls at school smoked was gold, and mini cigars come in a tin. I know Drum and Duma(?) are basically the same but one is imported so cheaper. Cigarettes come in packs of 20, or 16 from a vending machine for the same price. These days they seem to have a picture of some diseased body part and a 'Smoking Kills' warning. That's about the extent of my knowledge of cigarette packaging blush.

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them?
DS is only 4, so I doubt he knows much, but I'll just ask him...
Me: DS, what is a cigarette?
DS: I don't know
Me: It's dried smelly leaves wrapped in paper, and people put them in their mouths, light them and breathe in the smoke.
DS: Why?
Me: I don't know
DS: That's a silly thing to do.

FartBlossom Tue 26-Jun-12 18:17:18

If you smoke now, did the branding/packaging have any influence on your choice to start smoking or not? dont smoke

If you have smoked in the past but since quit, what do you remember about the first cigarette brand you tried? No I can't TBH. I know I smoked a lot more Regal than anything, cant say why TBH

If you're a non-smoker, how do you feel about cigarette packaging? Do you notice it at all? Dont pay any attention at all

Finally, do you have any tips to stop children from smoking in the first place? Is this a subject you have discussed with your DC? If so, what did you say/do? If not, how do you think you would address this situation if it arose in the future? Do your children notice or know any brands of cigarettes? If so, how do they know them? I can only go by my own experience and why I smoked when I was a teenager/early 20's. I did it because it was shoved down my throat how nasty and dirty it was. My mum even said to me that she didn't want me hanging around town on a night as she was worried Id get into drugs or even worse smoking hmm Both my parents are very very very anti-smoking, so much that my mum pulls a face if she is somewhere and someone else dares have a cigarette. She even turns her nose up at smokers. So for me it was to be rebellious. I stopped gradually when I was early to mid 20's though I do think that if DH had been a smoker then I might be one too now.

My MIL smokes as did my FIL before his death in 2009 and both started at a young age. It was smoking that led to FIL's death (he had lung cancer so had a lung removed, then had complications and died in hospital through something else, but was only there due to missing a lung) which DS is old enough to remember and thinks it was the cigarettes that killed him. When my DC's are older (eldest is 7) I intend to not really mention it and just say that I dont because they can kill you and let them make their own minds up. If they want to smoke I am not going to give them money or buy them cigarettes (even when they are fully grown adults) and I am not going to allow smoking in my house, they can go outside with the door shut.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now