SOUTHAMPTON MP Alan Whitehead is calling for the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco.

The introduction of plain packs is backed by 190 health and welfare organisations, including Cancer Research UK, the British Medical Association and the Royal Medical Colleges.

With 243 people out of 100,000 smoking, Southampton has a higher smoking rate than the national average (216 out of 100,000). Southampton also has a higher rate of people who die early of lung cancer. Speaking about the introduction of plain packs, Alan Whitehead said: “I welcome any measure that will lessen the burden of smoking, particularly one which will deter the young people of Southampton from starting a habit that kills one in two of its long-term users. “I believe plain packaging is a vital step toward discouraging children from starting smoking.”