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Children's smoking at 25-year low

A new study into the drug and alcohol habits among children has found that smoking among those aged 11 to 15 has fallen to its lowest level for 25 years.

Just 6% of secondary school pupils surveyed by the NHS Information Centre smoked regularly during 2007, the lowest figure recorded since the survey began in 1982.

The study also found that drug and alcohol use among 11 to 15-year-olds is falling, with 20% of pupils saying they had drunk alcohol in the past week, compared with 26% in 2001. A further 10% had taken drugs in the past month, a decrease on the 12% recorded in 2001.

Boys and girls had a similar prevalence for recent drug use and for recent drinking, although girls were more likely to smoke regularly. Among those who drank, the average alcohol consumption among boys (13.1 units per week) was higher than that for girls (12.4 units).

The survey identified a long-term decline in the proportion of pupils who had tried smoking, from 53% in 1982 to 33% in 2007.

A total of 29% of pupils reported recent smoking, drinking or drug use, with 4% reporting doing all three.

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