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Smoking among school children at 25-year low

Smoking among school children has fallen to its lowest level for 25 years, according to an NHS Information Centre survey published today.

Six percent of pupils mostly aged 11 to 15 smoked regularly in 2007, the lowest figure recorded since the survey began in 1982.

Drug and alcohol use among the same age group is also falling, according to the survey Drug use, smoking and drinking among young people in England in 2007.

It is estimated that of pupils aged 11 to 15:

  • 6% are likely to smoke regularly, compared to 10% in 2001.
  • 20% are likely to have drunk alcohol in the last seven days, compared to 26% in 2001.
  • 10% are likely to have taken drugs (including glue and other volatile substances) in the last month, compared to 12% in 2001.

Although the proportion taking drugs has fallen overall, the proportion taking Class A drugs within the last year has remained stable since 2001, at around 4%.

A total of 29% reported either drinking, smoking or taking drugs recently, while 4% reported doing all three.

Tim Straughan, NHS Information Centre Chief Executive, said: "These figures show schoolchildren are turning their back on tobacco. The survey also shows drugs and alcohol appear to have a decreasing hold on 11 to 15-year-olds, which can only be a good thing for future generations."

A full copy of the report is available from