New report shows dramatic drop in rate of teen smoking

Recent years have seen a dramatic drop in the number of Irish teens smoking, according to a new study.

A report in medical journal BMJ Open states that smoking in the 15-16 age group has decreased from 41% in 1995 to 13% in 2015.

In 1995 smoking prevalence in girls was 45% and was 37% for boys - whereas by 2015, there was a smaller proportion of girls smoking (12.8%) than boys (13.1%).

Having friends who smoke, parents not knowing where students were on Saturday nights, easy access to cigarettes, skipping school, relationship with mother and perception of risks of smoking were all named as factors in the number of teens who take up smoking.

Perceived family wealth or family structure such as single parenthood was not found to be significant.

Professor Luke Clancy, Director of the Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland said: “The role of increased efforts to highlight the risks involved in smoking and the positive role that parental involvement can make is clear from the results. Now that we have established these positive influences, we can examine ways of maximising their impact”

“The results of this study suggest that smoking in this age group (15-16-year-olds) can achieve the Tobacco Free Ireland strategy of less than 5% prevalence by 2025 - if Tobacco Control measures continue to be enforced and strengthened.

“This is now the challenge facing our government and indeed wider society. Close to 6000 of our citizens die annually from tobacco-related disease – we must continue to focus on reducing this dreadful statistic”

- Digital desk

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