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Long-time smoker and MP Glenda Jackson has backed a pioneering campaign to stop young people taking up the habit.

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Although the Hampstead & Kilburn MP has smoked ever since she picked up cigarettes for a role in a play, she has encouraged younger people to look to the evidence put in front of them to resist the temptation.

“I had to take it up. It was necessary for a play, but I could have stopped,” she said.

“The issue and the campaign is to point out to young people, not to the oldies like me, that the benefits of not smoking are there for all to see.

“I am encouraging young people not to smoke. I don’t smoke when young people are in the room and I most markedly don’t smoke around children.”

The Deborah Hutton Campaign launched last month, backed by the Ham&High and publisher Archant London, encourages school children to make films to deter others from starting to smoke.

A highly-respected journalist, Deborah Hutton was just 49-years-old when she died of smoking-related lung cancer in 2009 – 25 years after she kicked the habit.

Her case highlights the dangers of smoking and the lifelong affect the habit can have on those who are addicted.

Ms Jackson said: “The benefits of not smoking are there for all to see.

“This is a country where smoking in public has been banned, where there is ongoing legislation to change packaging on cigarette packs and how people are allowed to display them.

“The whole thrust of the legislation and public opinion is to prevent young people starting and if we look at the hard evidence of the huge health benefits to not start smoking, it’s an irrefutable argument.”

Schools in Camden, Haringey, Westminster and Barnet are encouraged to take part in the Deborah Hutton Campaign and involve students in making films to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking.

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