Smoking falls to record low – but drugs are on the up

It seems that while campaigners have been focused on stopping kids from smoking they’ve dropped the ball on drugs.

New research out from NHS Digital’s Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England survey has made some alarming discoveries.

The research found 19 per cent of youngsters aged 11-15 in England have smoked compared to 24 per cent who have taken drugs. This details a rise in juvenile drug use of nine percentage point since the last survey in 2014.

The study also found a decrease in regular smoking. In 2016, just seven per cent were regular cigarette smokers, compared to 8 per cent at the time of the last publication in 2014.

Whilst this study attempted to look at people who had started smoking another study out today looked at the struggle Brits have to kick the habit. The study by V2 Cigs UK found that five million adults have attempted to stop smoking in the last year, but one in five didn’t even last a month.

Half of those who tried blamed a lack of willpower for their failure to kick nicotine. Despite not being able to pack them in for good, one third of users said they were able to cut back by more than 75 per cent while one quarter halved their intake by using alternatives.

The most common reason (61 per cent) for quitting among survey respondents was to be healthier, followed by 13 per cent who wanted to save money.

However new technology in the form of the increasingly popular vapes seems to be a popular new tool in the fight against nicotine addiction. One fifth of Brits who took part in the study say they’ve tried picking up a vape pen in a bid to dampen the death-sticks – and the number is quickly catching up on the quarter who smoke traditional cigarettes.

Paul Hunt, Managing Director of V2 Cigs UK, said: “It’s good to see that so many people have decided to give vaping a go.

”It’s been widely researched and found that it can be significantly helpful for those trying to quit smoking for good.

“Many people have never even tried e-cigarettes because they’re worried about their safety and how addictive they are.

”But it’s important to realise how much of a safer alternative vaping is than smoking, as e-cigarette contain significantly fewer cancer-causing chemicals.

”However, credit goes to the one in five who have quit and managed to stay smoke-free or those attempting Stoptober – the NHS’ month-long campaign, which has driven a million quit attempts to date.”

With smoking at an all-time low and more tools than ever in the armoury to stop smoking perhaps it’s now time for campaigners to turn their attention to that sharp rise in drug experimentation.

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