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Number of Children Trying Smoking Drops to Record Low

July 24, 2015
Public Health

smoke (2)The latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the number of children trying smoking has dropped to its lowest level since 1982.

The survey questioned 6,173 pupils in 210 English schools and revealed that for the first time more youngsters had tried electronic cigarettes than conventional tobacco. There has also been a decrease in the number of school pupils drinking alcohol, with only 38% of 11 to 15 year olds admitting having tried it. Questions on legal highs and energy drinks were included in the survey for the first time, and 6% of respondents admitting to using energy drinks with alcohol.

Professor Kevin Fenton, the director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England said, “The continuing decline in under-18 smoking, drinking and drug use is encouraging. It is reassuring that regular use of e-cigarettes remains low at 1%, and almost entirely among young people who have previously smoked tobacco. Crucially, the new Children and Families Act will make it an offence to sell e-cigarettes to children and will help address the number of young people trying e-cigarettes.”

The HSCIC estimate from the figures that that 90,000 pupils aged between 11 and 15 were regular smokers and around 240,000 had drunk alcohol in the past week. The pupil survey, which has run since 1982, is currently subject of a consultation which will look at the future format and content of the research.

You can view the full survey results HERE