Ilford campaigner petitioning government for plain cigarette packaging

A young campaigner, who has seen the effects of cancer first hand, hopes to stop people in the borough from smoking by petitioning the government to introduce plain cigarette packaging.

Penny-Sophia Christophe, of Lowbrook Road, Ilford became a Cancer Research UK ambassador after her cousin Georgie Pantzairka died of bone cancer at the age of 17 on Penny’s birthday last year.

She said: “My job as an ambassador is to represent my local constituency, Ilford South, and to campaign whilst educating the public on issues surrounding cancer.

“I am working towards hopefully dissuading children from taking up smoking by introducing plain packaging.

“If the government does decide to go ahead, the UK will be the first European nation to introduce plain packaging, making this a potentially historic campaign.”

You may also want to watch:

The 23-year-old has already worked hard towards getting two government grants worth more than �300million as well as helping to change laws around cigarette displays in shops.

Miss Christophe said: “If you are a smoker, please don’t take this as a personal attack. I fully understand that people will smoke if they want to and I have no desire to try and preach to them or force them to quit.

Most Read

“I’m a very passionate cancer campaigner and I fully believe that no one deserves cancer. I fight for every single person affected by the disease.

Research has shown that eight out of ten smokers have started smoking by the age of nineteen and most of these people will go on to develop a lifelong addiction and half of those will die of a smoking related illness.

Penny-Sophia, a monthly winner of the 2011/12 Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award, sponsored by Exchange Ilford, added: “The campaign has 15,000 signatures so far, and we hope to get as many as possible.

“My campaigning work has got me through the tough period after my cousin died and I genuinely love the work I do.

“I don’t think I’ll be giving it up anytime soon.”

To find out more visit

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter