Teenage smoking rate lowest since surveys began

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey also finds only 4% of those who had never smoked had ever used e-cigarettes

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27th November 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

The number of teenage smokers in Scotland has fell to the lowest rates ever recorded.

Pollsters compiling the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) found 2% of 13 year olds were regular smokers in 2013 (down from 3% in 2010), while 9% of 15 year olds were regular smokers in 2013 (down from 13% in 2010).

One per cent of 13 year olds and 4% of 15 year olds described themselves as an occasional smoker. Over four-fifths of 13 year olds (87%) and two-thirds of all 15 year olds said they had never smoked.

ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy welcomed the findings saying: “It is clear from this survey why tobacco companies spent so much time and money fighting against measures to restrict youth smoking – these initiatives work.

“We raised the age of youth smoking and cracked down on the supply of tobacco to young people - now youth smoking is at the lowest level since surveys began.

We raised the age of youth smoking and cracked down on the supply of tobacco to young people - now youth smoking is at the lowest level since surveys began

“We removed tobacco displays from supermarkets – and teenagers’ knowledge of tobacco brands has gone down.”

Records of smoking rates among 13 and 15 year olds began being recorded in 1982. For the first time the latest SALUS survey also asked about electronic cigarettes.

It found only 4% of those who had never smoked had ever used e-cigarettes.

A total of 14% of 15 year olds and 6% of 13 year olds tried or used e-cigarettes only once or a few times. Just 3% of 15 year olds and 1% of 13 year olds have used the devices more often.

“While most adult smokers are aware of electronic cigarettes it is welcome news that very few children are using them. We would like to keep it that way,” Duffy added.

“But more needs to be done – 22% said they had been exposed to tobacco smoke in a car, which is why we welcome moves to ban smoking in vehicles with children present.”