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Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on under-age smoking. [120163]

The Department of Health commissions annual surveys on smoking among secondary school children. The 1998 White Paper, "Smoking Kills", set a target to reduce smoking among 11 to 15-year-olds from 13 per cent. in 1996 to 9 per cent. by 2010, with a fall to 11 per cent. by 2005. Progress towards this target is monitored by a series of surveys of schoolchildren carried out on behalf of the Department of Health, originally by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys and since 2000 by the National Centre for Social Research and National Foundation for Educational Research.Data on the prevalence of regular smoking from these reports are shown in the table. Smoking prevalence has remained unchanged since 2000 at ten per cent. and we are on course to meet our target for reducing smoking among this age group.

Prevalence of regular cigarette smoking among secondary school pupils aged 11 to 15, by gender—England, 1996 to 2002
BoysGirlsAll pupils


Regular smokers are those who smoke at least one cigarette a week, on average


The Department of Health Statistical Press Notice, "Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2002: Provisional Results"— smoking.htm