Health & Wellbeing Service - Manchester

Young People and Smoking


It is estimated that every year more than 200,000 children in the UK start smoking. Among adult smokers, about two-thirds report that they took up smoking before the age of 18 and over 80% before the age of 20.

Smoking initiation is associated with a wide range of risk factors including: parental and sibling smoking, the ease of obtaining cigarettes, smoking by friends and peer group members, socio-economic status, exposure to tobacco marketing, and depictions of smoking in films, television and other media.

  • Children who live with parents or siblings who smoke are up to 3 times more likely to become smokers themselves than children of non-smoking households.
  • It is estimated that, each year, at least 23,000 young people in England and Wales start smoking by the age of 15 as a result of exposure to smoking in the home.
  • The younger the age of uptake of smoking, the greater the harm is likely to be because early uptake is associated with subsequent heavier smoking, higher levels of dependency, a lower chance of quitting, and higher mortality.

Cancer research found that an additional 50,000 children took up smoking on the previous year in 2012. They estimate around 570 children start smoking each day. Click here for more information.



On 1 October 2007 the legal age for the purchase of tobacco in England and Wales was raised from 16 to18. The amendment was designed to make it more difficult for teenagers to obtain cigarettes.

A ban on the sale of cigarettes from vending machines entered into force in England on 1 October 2011.

A ban on the display of tobacco products in retail outlets is being introduced in two stages: from April 2012 in large shops such as supermarkets and in April 2015 in small shops.

Above information is taken from ash factsheet on young people & smoking and Cancer Research news archive.

Are you ready to go smokefree?


There’s lots of free support available for young people if you wish to quit smoking. You can get support through the specialist stop smoking advisors, your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact the Manchester Stop Smoking Service.