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Sunday, May 31, 1998 Published at 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK

Health: Latest News

Parents urged to quit smoking

Every day smoking causes around 10,000 deaths worldwide

Parents have been urged to quit smoking as a new survey reveals that children are almost three times as likely to smoke if their parents do.

Research also shows children are four times as likely to smoke if their brothers or sisters take up the habit.

[ image: Packing it in: there are 12m ex-smokers in the UK]
Packing it in: there are 12m ex-smokers in the UK
The survey of more than 3,500 pupils aged 11-15 in England by the Health Education Authority (HEA) was released to coincide with World No Tobacco Day on Sunday.

Every day tobacco causes around 10,000 deaths worldwide and the number of young people who smoke is increasing in many countries, including the UK.

The World Health Organisation estimates if current trends continue, about 250m children alive today will eventually die as a result of smoking.

HEA smoking campaign manager Katie Aston said: "Almost half of the young people we surveyed had at least one parent who smoked.

"These children are not only more likely to smoke as a result, they also breathe in smoke at home. The best thing parents can do for the health of their children is to quit smoking.

"There are 12 million ex-smokers in Britain - giving up can be hard but if they can do it so can anyone!"

The survey also shows that children are less likely to smoke if they think their parents will disapprove, even if the parents smoke themselves.

Almost two-thirds of pupils who smoke say they have tried to give up and parents and friends are most likely to have encouraged them to quit.

Tougher tobacco controls

The European Commission, which earlier this month won a ban on tobacco advertising throughout the EU, is also pushing for tougher health warnings on cigarette packets and tighter limits on the tar and nicotine content.

Brussels is urging member states to banish cigarette vending machines to places where there is strictly no access for the young.

World No Tobacco Day was marked with a No Smoking Marathon in Japan.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has signed up 45 chain smokers, who will try to go without a cigarette for the entire month of June. Those who succeed will get a t-shirt - and a taste of smoke-free living.

Ministry officials will administer periodic breath tests to determine if participants have really quit smoking.

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