Lowest number of schoolchildren smokers in 30 years

Smoking among school age children has fallen to its lowest level in almost 30 years, says a report which shows underage drinking and drug taking has also dropped.

A study from NHS Information Centre shows smoking, drinking and drug taking in young people aged 11-15 have all fallen.

Smoking among young people was 29% – the lowest figure since records began in 1982 when it was 53%.

The proportion who had ever taken drugs fell to 22% from 29% in 2001, the first year of measurement. The percentage who had drunk alcohol dropped to 51% in 2009, compared with 61% in 2003.

But the report also showed that all three habits become more frequent as children grow older. For instance, in 2009, only one-in-50 11 year olds had taken drugs in the last month, compared with nearly one in five 15 year olds.

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