Young people’s tobacco use continues to be a widely recognised public health challenge in UK. In November 2010, the government introduced the White Paper Healthy lives, Healthy People: Our Strategy for Public Health in England which set the government’s long-term ambitions for improving public health in England. The White Paper recognised the harmful effects smoking has on public health and made a commitment to publish a tobacco control strategy with the aim to minimise tobacco use. It is estimated that each year in England around 340,000 children under the age of 16 who have never smoked before try smoking cigarettes (Department of Health, 209). Every year, around 200,000 children and young people start smoking regularly (HM Government, 2010).Of these 67% start before the age of 18 and 84% by age 19 (Robinson & Bugler, 2008). The annual Government survey of smoking among secondary school pupils defines regular smoking as smoking at least one cigarette a week. However, in 2011 pupils classified as regular smokers smoked a mean (average) of 35.6 cigarettes a week, approximately five a day. Occasional smokers consumed on average 3.5 cigarettes a week (ICHS, 2012).The number of cigarettes smoked by both regular and occasional smokers have fallen significantly since 2007. The proportion of children who have ever smoked continues to decline. In 2011, 25% of 11-15 year olds had smoked at least once, the lowest proportion since the survey began in 1982 when 53% had tried smoking (ICHS, 2012). Previously, girls had been more likely than boys to have ever smoked and to be regular smokers. However, in 2011, a similar proportion of boys and girls said they had tried smoking (25% and 26% respectively.) The prevalence of regular smoking increases with age, from less than 0.5% of 11 year olds to 11% of 15 years old. 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 (Royal College of Physician, 2010). http://l3.kottonmouthkings.com/sites/default/files/styles/kroniclesnode/public/field/image/Teen-Marijuana.jpg Smoking and health:
Evidence shows that smoking has negative effects on young people’s health, including respiratory illnesses, poorer lung function, and asthma related illnesses. It can also impair lung growth (Muller, 2007). Young smokers are two to six times more susceptible to coughs, increased phlegm and wheezing than their non-smoking peers (Royal College of Physicians, 1992).There is evidence that young people who smoke experience high rates of nicotine dependence and tend to continue the habit into adulthood (Gervais et al, 2006). Around two-thirds of people who smoked started the habit before the age of 18 (HSCIC, 2010).The risks to young smokers continue into later life. Individuals who start smoking before the age of 18 face a greater risk of all types of tobacco related cancers, linked primarily to their earlier exposure to the harmful toxins from cigarettes. Furthermore, girls who start smoking at a young age are much more likely to develop bronchitis or emphysema in adulthood than those who began smoking as adults (Gervais et al, 2006). .
Teenage smokers and cessation service:
Cigarette smoking among children aged 11–15 years constitutes a persistent and substantial health issue in Britain. Based on figures for England in 2004 (Department of health, 2005). Responding to this situation, there has been some official recognition of the need for cessation services to target young people. In September 1999 the Health Education Authority (later to become the Health Development Agency) sponsored a conference titled Smoking Cessation in Young People: Should we do more to help young smokers to quit? On the basis of...