Trends - Smoking

Attitudes to cigarettes 1983-2007

The following is a summary of the report available from SHEU (£10 incl. p&p)

When looking over these many years of figures, we find that young people in recent years are...

* the last ten years show a rise in those young people reporting they have 'never smoked at all'
* over the years the older females have remained the 'heavier' smokers ranging from 12% (1987), 20% (1996) and around 15% in more recent years
* consistently reporting that around 50% of 14-15 year olds have a close friend that smokes regularly
* more than 50% of pupils lived in a home where somebody smoked regularly indoors

We also find that for the young people that smoke...

* Around 75% of smokers want to give up smoking, a proportion that has not risen despite anti-smoking campaigns and health education programmes
* 14-15 year olds are more likely, than in previous years, to have smoked at least 10 cigarettes in the past week
* they are more likely to smoke if family and close friends are smokers - 14-15 year old females are 8 times more likely to smoke if they have a close friend who smokes - but families may be the most important influence
* they are less likely to buy cigarettes from a shop than in previous years


ORDER publications

  1. SHEU is an independent research, survey and publishing company and the 'Young People into ...' series of reports are based on the work of one of its divisions - The Schools Health Education Unit. The Unit provides reliable baseline data for local needs assessment to inform plans in health, education and care.
  2. The accumulated databank from the hundreds of school surveys we support each year, involving tens of thousands of young people, is a valuable resource of information and provides many opportunities for research. But we caution against simple reporting and interpretation of our figures as being from 'a national survey'.
  3. In 2014 we compared the profile of the schools in our data sets with what we can see in the country as a whole (see link), and we were pleasantly surprised by the similarity.  This confirms what we concluded in 2004 through a similar study: that the SHEU data sets are reasonably well-matched to the national population of schools.