Cancer Research have said that these figures further highlight the current scale of the UK’s tobacco problem, and drive home the importance of taking action to discourage children from starting to smoke.
The same study also revealed that around one million under 15-year olds have tried out smoking at least once – which according to research makes them more likely to take up smoking during the next few years than children who have not experimented with tobacco.
Previous research carried out on 12-year-old smokers in 2009 revealed that during that particular year, 1 per cent were smoking regularly, 2 per cent occasionally and 2 per cent said they used to smoke.
One year down the line in 2010, it was calculated that among the same age group of children (aged 13), 3 per cent smoked regularly, 2 per cent smoked occasionally and 4 per cent said they used to smoke.
With evidence showing that eight in ten adult smokers take up the habit before they are 19 – prompt action needs to be taken to discourage youngsters from taking up the dangerous habit.
In response to the study results, Cancer Research is petitioning to the government to make plain tobacco packaging compulsory so that children are far less likely to be seduced by the packaging and marketing techniques.
“Our research has shown that selling all cigarettes in standardised packs will help reduce the appeal of smoking and give children one less reason to start smoking.” Said the charity.
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View the original Cancer Research press release.