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.