Fewer teens are smoking cigarettes

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Wigan teenagers are packing in the cigarettes, as new figures suggest smoking amongst youngsters is becoming less popular.

Research by Glasgow University shows that the number of 15-year-olds who smoke has dropped by 20 per cent since smoking in pubs and restaurants was outlawed nearly a decade ago, with experts saying it had ‘de-normalised’ smoking.

According to data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, 4.9 per cent of 15-year-olds in Wigan classed themselves as regular smokers in 2014 while 24.5 per cent had ever smoked.

The statistics also show the use of e-cigarettes amongst 15 year olds in the borough with six per cent classed as current users and 31.1 per cent saying they had ever used one.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “This research suggests the smoking ban has also helped de-normalise smoking, making it seem less a part of everyday life, and thereby reducing its appeal to new, young smokers.

“However, we can’t become complacent. Around 200,000 young people are still taking up smoking every year. “Ongoing government efforts, including targeted awareness campaigns, are needed if we are to see this number fall.”

But Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said he was not convinced by the study.

He said: “Smoking rates among children were in decline long before smoking was banned in pubs, clubs and offices. Teenagers are well educated about the health risks of smoking and this, more than anything, is the principal reason for the long-term decline in the number of children who smoke.”

Wigan Council can provide one-to-one support to quite smoking.

For more information on stop smoking services across the borough visit www.wigan.gov.uk, or alternatively visit www.healthyrouteswigan.co.uk or call 01942 489012.