; What's so important about tobacco and young people?


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Tobacco and Young People - It's Important!

Why is it so important?

Evidence shows that the younger an individual starts to smoke, the more likely they are to be an adult smoker, the more heavily they are likely to smoke during adulthood and the more likely they are to fall ill and die early as a result of tobacco use. 

We know that 13,000 young people take up smoking in Scotland each year. That’s 36 young people every day. 

Most smokers take up smoking as a young person. Around two thirds of smokers in the UK started smoking under the age of 18 and over a third (40%) started under the age of 16.   We also know that young people from the most deprived areas progress to regular smoking more rapidly and more frequently than those in the least deprived areas. Smoking rates are also disproportionately high amongst certain groups of young people, such as, looked after children and young offenders. 

Taking up smoking can have lifelong impacts. A 20 a day smoker can lose around £2,500 every year as a result of their smoking habit. 70% of smokers say that they want to quit but struggle to do so.

Health behaviours do not exist in isolation.  Action to support young people to negotiate decisions about tobacco must also take account of the potential interactions between smoking and other health-damaging behaviours.


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