Rosie Cooper MP joined the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) and AMD Alliance at a Parliamentary reception to raise awareness of the link between smoking and sight loss. Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing sight loss by between two and four times that of a non-smoker.
54,000 smokers in the UK have already lost sight through Age-related Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of registerable blindness in older people. With 12 million smokers in the UK that means an average of 18,000 people in each Parliamentary constituency. However, new research shows that only five per cent of smokers surveyed knew that smoking causes blindness.
Rosie Cooper MP said, “I support this campaign to get a new warning cigarette packets stating that smoking causes blindness. Smokers in out area need to be aware of the health risk that smoking poses to their sight, and this research clearly shows the public are not aware of the risks. I am also calling on the government to include this important message in their public health campaigns.”
Steve Winyard, Head of Public Policy at RNIB said “We are concerned that most people in the UK have no idea that smoking can damage their sight. Government needs to act now to get this important health message to the public so that smokers can make an informed decision about the risks they wish to make with their health.”