TOBACCO packaging has been developed to attract teenagers and children, according to a report.

Cancer Research UK said its study reviewed industry documents from the past 50 years and claimed some described how packaging had been developed to appeal to new smokers, notably teenagers, through its size, colour and design.

The charity held eight focus groups with 50 15-year-olds in each and found "clear differences" between boys and girls when asked to pick favourite packs.

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The Packaging of Tobacco Products report – published by the charity and Stirling University's Centre for Tobacco Control Research – will be considered as part of a UK-wide consultation on whether to strip cigarettes of their branding.

Cancer Research UK launched its The Answer is Plain campaign today, asking people to sign a petition to remove all branding from tobacco packaging.

Vicky Crichton, Cancer Research UK's public affairs manager in Scotland, said: "In Scotland, 24% of adults are smokers, higher than the British average. This report shows children are drawn to the slick designs."

Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco research at University College London, added: "We can't be sure how big an effect preventing tobacco companies from using packing to attract smokers will have, but smoking is so dangerous that even a very small effect would save hundreds if not thousands of lives each year."