Health policies fail to deter young smokers: Campaigners condemn decision not to ban cigarette advertising
This failure is clearly embarrassing to the Department of Health and also means it has no chance of achieving the Health of the Nation target to reduce smoking in 11- to 15-year-olds by 33 per cent (to less than 6 per cent) by the end of this year.
In 1982, the proportion of children who were regular smokers was 11 per cent. It was 13 per cent in 1984; 10 per cent in 1986; 8 per cent in 1988 and then 10 per cent in 1990, 1992 and last year.
The report, Smoking Among Secondary School Children, from the Office on Population Censuses and Surveys on behalf of the department, shows that despite publicity and stricter laws, most children still buy their cigarettes from shops illegally. This too has changed little since 1982. In 1993, 88 per cent of regular child smokers usually bought their cigarettes from shops, just as they did 11 years ago.
John Bowis, parliamentary secretary at the Department of Health, admitted yesterday that the new statistics were 'disappointing'. He said: 'In spite of the efforts being made by the Government and other organisations, we are not making the progress we would like.'
He said a pounds 12m campaign, announced 18 months ago, would be launched before the end of this year. In May, the Government completed its latest voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry. Measures included reductions in shop advertising. But the Government is still refusing to ban tobacco advertising and promotion.
The report says: 'The prevalence of cigarette smoking among secondary school children has changed little since 1982. Very few children are smokers when they start secondary school, but by the time they are 15 years old, more than one-fifth smoke regularly.'
The report defines regular smoking as at least one cigarette a week. It says: 'In 1993, the average number of cigarettes recorded in the previous week by regular smokers was 47. Almost a quarter of regular smokers had smoked an average of 10 or more cigarettes a day in the previous week.'
Health experts and anti-smoking campaigners condemned the Government's failure to stop children smoking. Dr Sandy Macara, chairman of the BMA, said: 'How many more damning statistics do the Government need to prove that their obstinate refusal to ban tobacco advertising is giving a clear signal to young people that smoking is acceptable?'
Steve Woodward, director of the pressure group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), said the report made nonsense of government statements that it had been doing the right things. 'They cannot continue to ignore the advice of all the eminent medical experts that advertising must be banned.'
John Moxham, professor of respiratory medicine at Kings College Hospital and chairman of Doctors for Tobacco Law, said it was essential to break the 'tobacco culture' and that children had to be discouraged from starting.
Smoking Among Secondary School Children in England in 1993; Office of Population Censuses and Surveys; pounds 7.85.
- 1 If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
- 4 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 5 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Auschwitz museum defends mist showers installed during heat wave after visitor complains they are reminiscent of gas chambers
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Nazi 'gold train': Fire engulfs suspected location of vehicle in Poland
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...
£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...