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Number of teenage smokers drops

A new study has been released today claiming that the number of smokers aged 16 and 17 has dropped since it became illegal to sell cigarettes to under-18s. The research, which was conducted by University College London (UCL), interviewed more than 1,100 16- and 17-year-olds before and after the age rise was introduced in October 2007.



The researchers found that the number of smokers dropped by 7% in this age group, from around 24% to around 17%. Smoking rates among older age groups, however, were not significantly affected.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, 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 tobacco displays in shops and getting rid of cigarette vending machines is needed and wanted by the public.”

[pie]Statistics show that 80% of smokers start before the age of 19, and that half of all long-term smokers will ultimately die of cancer or other smoking-related diseases.[/pie]