Drop in UK teenage smokers

Aug 18, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The number of 16- and 17-year-old UK smokers has dropped since it became illegal to sell cigarettes to under-18s according to new UCL research published today in the journal Addiction.

In the first study of its kind, more than 1,100 16- and 17-year-olds were interviewed from across England before and after the age rise in October 2007. Researchers found the number of dropped by seven per cent, from around 24 per cent to around 17 per cent.

Smoking rates among older age groups - over the age of 18 - were not significantly affected by the changes.

Researchers believe this result shows how important it is to continue working to help more young people stop smoking.

Dr Jenny Fidler, lead author based at Cancer Research UK’s research centre at UCL, said: “The new law looks to have helped reduce smoking prevalence among younger age groups. This is good news for the future health of this generation of young people and shows that tobacco policies can make a real difference.”

New ways to protect young people from tobacco marketing - putting tobacco out of sight in shops and removing cigarette vending machines - became law through the Health Act 2009. But these could be under threat if the government fails to implement the regulations to allow these measures to take effect.

More than 80 per cent of smokers start before the age of 19. Half of all long-term smokers will die of cancer or other smoking-related diseases. Stopping young people from starting smoking is vital if the death toll from tobacco is to be reduced.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of , said: “This result is encouraging. We would like to have seen an even bigger drop in the number of young smokers but any measure that helps stops young people from smoking is a step in the right direction.

“We need to do more to protect young people. We urge the government to prevent more lives being lost to an addiction that will kill half of all long term smokers. Rolling out the regulations to remove displays in shops and getting rid of cigarette vending machines is needed and wanted by the public.”

Explore further: Testosterone testing has increased in recent years

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Retail tobacco displays make it tougher to quit

Feb 07, 2008

Tobacco advertising displays may be undermining smokers' attempts to give up and tempting former smokers to resume smoking, research by Professor of Marketing Janet Hoek has found.

Smoking rate has plummeted in New York City

Jun 21, 2007

New York City’s smoking rate has plummeted since a comprehensive program against smoking was launched in 2002, according to findings issued today in the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity ...

Indigenous Australians are not heavy smokers

Jul 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A recent study has busted the myth Indigenous Australians are heavy smokers and has indicated those living in remote communities consume fewer cigarettes a day than other smokers, even though they continue ...

Recommended for you

Testosterone testing has increased in recent years

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—There has been a recent increase in the rate of testosterone testing, with more testing seen in men with comorbidities associated with hypogonadism, according to research published online Nov. ...

AMA: Hospital staff should consider impact of CMS rule

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—Hospital medical staff members need to consider the impact of a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that revised the conditions of participation for hospitals ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.