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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 06:49 GMT
'Significant drop' in teen smoking
Teenage smoking
Regular teenage smoking has dropped
Health campaigners have welcomed a major drop in the rate of teenage smoking.

A survey marking the latest No Smoking Day shows a fall in the number of 15-year-old boys becoming regular smokers.

Smoking rates among the age group nearly halved from 30% in 1996 to 16% in 2002, according to the Health Education Board for Scotland (Hebs).

Even among girls, where there has been concern over rising smoking rates, there was an encouraging fall.

Regular smoking rates among 15-year-old girls dropped from 30% to 24% over the same period.

I am delighted that health messages about the realities of smoking do seem to be getting across to teenagers
Lesley Hinds, Hebs
Deputy Health Minister Mary Mulligan said the findings were very encouraging.

"It is gratifying that there has been a significant drop in the percentage of teenage boys smoking," she said.

"What we need to do now is build on the various initiatives, such as the ban on tobacco advertising, and maintain this progress so that future generations are not blighted by this deadly habit."

With four in five teenage smokers continuing to smoke as adults, the concern of health campaigners has been the long-term effects of coronary heart disease and cancers.

But the survey shows that 73% of regular smokers at 15, who have been smoking for over a year, want to quit.

Many of those teenagers have called the Hebs Smokeline service.

Fitness levels

Hebs spokesman Martin Raymond said: "Teenage boys are not as feckless and reckless about their health as some might believe.

"We know that they are concerned about the short-term impact of smoking on their fitness levels and on their pockets."

Hebs chairwoman Lesley Hinds said: "I am delighted that health messages about the realities of smoking do seem to be getting across to teenagers.

"This substantial drop in the number of boys smoking is encouraging, but more importantly will contribute towards making an enormous improvement to both their short term and long-term health."

Tobacco ads ban from next year
20 Nov 02 |  Scotland
Fresh assault on smoking
07 May 02 |  Scotland
Hotline to help smokers quit
02 Jan 02 |  Scotland

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