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Ellie hopes to stub out teenage smoking
1:31pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A COLCHESTER youngster is the new face of a campaign to cut the number of children starting to smoke.
Ellie Baggott is fronting Cancer Research UK’s Setting the Standard campaign, which highlights the importance of discouraging young people from starting to smoke.
Fresh figures show 50 children aged between 11 and 15 start smoking every day in the region, with 4,172 a year starting in Essex alone.
Aspiring model Ellie, 11, of Jefferson Close, in Colchester, goes to St Helena School.
Dad Roland Baggott said: “I’ve explained to her if she wants to model in the future, the quickest way to ruin her lovely skin is to take up smoking.
“I think that’s put her off. She’s a sensible girl and I don’t think she’ll succumb to peer pressure because she and most of her friends think smoking is disgusting and know it damages your health.”
The Cancer Research campaign also aims to persuade the Government to commit to plain tobacco packaging, rather than the existing colourful brands.
Mr Baggott added: “It’s terrible the way young people are lured in by glamorous packaging.
“I grew up in an era when smoking was considered to be cool and back then we didn’t really know the damaging effect of smoking but Ellie and her generation do, so I was shocked to discover the high numbers of children taking up smoking in this area.
“It’s great for Ellie to be part of a campaign with such a hard hitting message.”
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Essex, 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 Eastern England alone, this is 25,546 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 and protect them from tobacco marketing.
To support the campaign, go to cruk.org/standard-packs or join the debate on Twitter using #packetracket.
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