UK plastic surgeons call for changes to firework packaging

In the last few years, the number of patients needing emergency treatment in the UK due to firework related incidents has more than doubled. And despite multiple campaigns, as well as safety warnings, there’s still a high number of serious injuries occuring every year. This is particularly true in individuals who use fireworks at home, instead of going to organised displays.

In light of this, some of the country’s leading plastic surgeons are calling for graphic, cigarette style safety warnings on firework packaging. According to The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), there has been a move towards marketing products that could pose a health risk responsibly. For example, products like alcohol, cigarettes, junk food, and gambling products, are required to have safety warnings.

Although these positive changes have been made across other industries, the warnings on boxes continue to be small, and on smaller boxes they are often missed. Additionally, the packaging is often colourful, and can be associated with games. The BAPRAS believes that in order to reduce the number of injuries, firework packaging needs to change, especially as around half of all hospital admissions are under 18’s.

The group say: “With many of our surgeons having to attend to these types of injuries each year, BAPRAS is calling on the Government to make a common-sense change by legislating to ensure all firework packaging in the UK includes mandatory graphic warning notices, similar to those found on cigarette packaging.”

Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, who supports the campaign, also commented: “Unfortunately, many of the fireworks used today are more powerful and therefore more dangerous than the ones we dealt with when I was a firefighter in the London Fire Brigade. Right here in east London I have seen first-hand how children are using these explosives as weapons, firing them at passers-by and even our emergency services. The alarming figures raised by BAPRAS today make clear the urgent need for Government to introduce graphic warnings on firework packaging, clearly demonstrating the dangers of misuse.”

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