Life Wellbeing Youth smoking rates at ‘record low’

Youth smoking rates at ‘record low’

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Australian adolescent smoking rates are at a record low, but experts say constant vigilance is needed to combat new tobacco marketing strategies.

They attribute the drop to rising cigarette prices, smoke-free environment and advertising policies, plain packaging, and restrictions on adolescents’ access to tobacco.

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A perspective paper, published in the journal Public Health Research & Practice, said 3.4 per cent of Australians aged 12-17 smoked daily.

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It’s no longer cool to smoke. Photo: Getty

The latest New South Wales data showed 6.7 per cent of adolescents in 2014 described themselves as heavy, light or occasional smokers compared to 23.5 per cent in 1996.

Lead author Anita Dessaix from the Cancer Institute NSW said as traditional forms of tobacco advertising closed off, tobacco companies are seeking alternative ways to promote their products.

“On average, for every extra hour that young people spend on the internet daily, their exposure to smoking in video games increases by eight per cent,” the paper said.

“Significant progress has been made, but further action is required to achieve continued declines in smoking by Australian adolescents by preventing uptake and aiding quitting.

“Constant vigilance is needed to address new and innovative tobacco marketing strategies.”

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