The number of teens who smoke increases for the first time in 25 years


Teenage smoking rates have increased for the first time in 25 years, according to a new study from Ireland.

The study, from the TobaccoFree Research Institute, also shows that teen vaping rates have increased over the past four years and that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke.

It was published in Open research ERJ newspaper.

Researchers looked at data on Irish adolescents from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), a survey of around 100,000 young people aged 15 to 16, conducted every four years in 35 European countries.

There were 1,493 Irish adolescents involved in the 2015 survey and 1,949 adolescents in the 2019 survey.

The results of the 2019 survey showed that 16.2% of boys were smokers, up from 13.1% in 2015, while the number of girls who smoked remained unchanged between the 2015 and 2019 surveys, at 12.8%. .

In 2015, 23% of teens said they had ever used e-cigarettes, and this figure rose to 37% in 2019.

In 2015, 10.1% said they currently used e-cigarettes, and this figure rose to 18.1% in 2019.

The data also showed that teens who reported using e-cigarettes at some point or currently using them were also 50% more likely to smoke.

Concerns about the links between electronic cigarettes and smoking

Professor Luke Clancy, Managing Director of the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland, raised concerns about the links between e-cigarettes and smoking.

The dangers of smoking are well known. We are still learning about the effects of e-cigarettes, but we know that the nicotine they contain can cause brain damage in adolescents.

“There is also a concern that they could lead to an increase in smoking,” he said.

The Irish government aims to make the country “tobacco-free” by 2025, which means the smoking rate is expected to be below 5%.

“Our previous research suggested that this goal may not be achieved for the general population, but, until now, we thought it might be achieved in adolescents,” he said.

“It now seems highly unlikely, which means that smoking and all the death and disability associated with it will continue. ”

Jonathan Grigg, chairman of the European Respiratory Society’s tobacco control committee and professor of pediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University in London, said any increase in teenage smoking rates was “of great concern. “.

“The increase in the use of electronic cigarettes is also of concern. Teens should know that electronic cigarettes are not inherently harmless, and this study indicates that the use of electronic cigarettes is also linked to smoking, ”he said.


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