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Young people
In Great Britain about 450 children and young people start smoking every day. By the age of 15, 16% of boys and 25% of girls are smoking regularly.

The earlier you start smoking, the more likely you are to become a heavy smoker and suffer from diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke. Approximately half of all long term smokers will die early from smoking related diseases.
Last Updated 15-04-10
Young People and Smoking

It is estimated that every year more than 200,000 children in the UK start
smoking. Among adult smokers, about two-thirds report that they took
up smoking before the age of 18 and over 80% before the age of 20.

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.

  • Children who live with parents or siblings who smoke are up to 3 times
  • more likely to become smokers themselves than children of non-smoking
  • It is estimated that, each year, at least 23,000 young people in
  • England and Wales start smoking by the age of 15 as a result of exposure to
    smoking in the home.
  • The younger the age of uptake of smoking, the greater the harm is likely to be

because early uptake is associated with subsequent heavier smoking, higher
levels of dependency, a lower chance of quitting, and higher mortality.

Cancer research found that an additional 50,000 children took up smoking on the previous year in 2012. They estimate around 570 children start smoking each day. Click here for more information.

For more information about electronic cigarettes and shisha please click on our news page.


On 1 October 2007 the legal age for the purchase of tobacco in England and
Wales was raised from 16 to18. The amendment was designed to make it more difficult for teenagers to obtain cigarettes.

A ban on the sale of cigarettes from vending machines entered into force in
England on 1 October 2011.

A ban on the display of tobacco products in retail outlets is being introduced in two stages: from April 2012 in large shops such as supermarkets and in April 2015 in small shops.

Above information is taken from ash factsheet on young people & smoking and Cancer Research news archive.

Last Updated 17-07-13
Are you ready to go smokefree?

There’s lots of free support available for young people if you wish to quit smoking.  You can get support through the specialist stop smoking advisors, your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact the Manchester Stop Smoking Service for details on or text smoke with your name to 81025.

Last Updated 15-04-10
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Recent News
New Smokefree Health Harms campaign
Updated - 06/01/14
Public Health England’s new campaign is raising awareness of the harm smoking does to your body. The hard hitting new advertising shows the damaging effect that toxins from smoking have on the blood, lungs, heart and brain.

Smokefree Cars campaign launched across Greater Manchester
Updated - 19/12/13
A new campaign has been launched to encourage people to keep their cars Smokefree to protect children and young people from breathing in the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.