NEWS

Smoking crackdown turns to teenage tobacco users

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After unleashing a crackdown on smoking in public areas, the Health Ministry is set to unveil a campaign aimed at young teenagers.

The ministry’s Action Plan Against Smoking includes a campaign to convince teens that “smoking is not cool” by distributing educational material at schools warning of the perils of tobacco and related products, and stressing the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

According to a recent survey by the University Mental Health Research Institute, the signs for getting children to turn their backs to tobacco are already encouraging.

It found that the percentage of 11- 13- and 15-year-olds who have smoked at least once dropped last year to 15.5 from 22.7 in 2006, while those who smoke every day shrank to 3.3 percent from 5.3 in 2006.

The news is not as good when it comes to electronic cigarettes, with 36.7 percent of young teens admitting to using such a device at least once.