Survey suggests teenage smokers are at record low

The number of young people who have tried smoking has dropped to its lowest ever recorded figure, according to recent NHS Digital statistics

The number of young people aged between 11 and 15 who have ever smoked dropped to 16% in 2018, compared to 19% in 2016 – the lowest rate recorded in the survey.

The figures also mark an ongoing decline from 49% in 1996 and the proportion of young people who have never smoked has increased year after year to 84% in 2018.

There is an increase in the use of e-cigarettes, however.

A quarter of pupils surveyed reported using e-cigarettes, an increase of three percentage points from 2014 and 6% are regular e-cigarette users, compared to 5% being current smokers.

A 2017 study showed that teens who start smoking e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes but a later study evaluated that there is ‘little evidence’ to show e-cigarettes promote smoking in teenagers.

The numbers, conducted by Ipsos Mori, are based on a survey of 13,664 pupils from year 7 to 11, from 193 schools across England.

This follows the number of adults who smoke cigarettes has also decreased in the past seven years.


Statistics on smoking



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