Number of young people smoking in North West falls to record low – Make Smoking History

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Number of young people smoking in North West falls to record low

The number of young people in the North West who smoke is down to 6% - the lowest level recorded, down from 22% in 2007.

The findings come from Trading Standards North West which surveyed almost 14,000 14-17-year-olds in the region.

What’s more, the research uncovered that levels of underage binge drinking across the region has also dropped. In 2007, almost a third (29%) of 14 – 17-year-olds described themselves as regular binge drinkers, compared to just 8% today.

In 2007 only 17% of young people surveyed said they never drink – compared to nearly half (48%) today.

While smoking and drinking levels continue to fall, there has been an increase in the numbers of young people vaping. The new data reports that, currently, 14% claim to vape more than once a week, compared to 6% in 2020. Young people said tempting flavours were a key factor.

However, Trading Standards North West has warned there is still a long way to go to stop tobacco ending up in the hands of young people in the region.

Lisa Seamark, who is Lead for Underage Sales at Trading Standards North West, believes further action can be taken to limit smoking and drinking by the young. She also promised further action against retailers selling vapes to under-18s.

She said: “We know that progress has been made when it comes to driving down underage sales of tobacco and alcohol, but we can’t be complacent. There is still much more that can be done to protect young people from tobacco and alcohol, which can cause significant harm at a crucial time in their development.

“The rise in youth vaping is concerning and our findings show that disposables are by far the most used type of vapes amongst young people in the region. Almost 4 in 10 young people are buying e-cigarettes from shops and enforcement action will be taken against retailers who continue to sell to under 18s.”

Whilst vapes can help smokers quit, they are not risk-free and should never be used by young people under 18. It is illegal to sell nicotine vaping products to anyone under 18 or for adults to buy them on behalf of under-18s.

If you find a retailer selling either nicotine vapes or tobacco products to under-18s, you can report a retailer to local authority Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice online portal.

Smokers in Greater Manchester can access, personalised support to stop smoking from Local Stop Smoking Services or through the Smoke Free app which is available free for six months’ (T&Cs apply). Support and advice is also available from GPs, pharmacies or over the phone by calling the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044.