There’s been much in the media recently about children starting smoking.
Yes… we’ve been fed another one of those recipes the press loves to cook – main ingredients: a bucket of prejudice mixed with large bag of speculation, sprinkled with a handful of assumptions and simmered on a low heat with absolutely no facts involved!
Well, now we have some genuine facts. Predictably those facts disagree with the assumptions. So we wonder how much coverage the report will get. Will anyone apologise? Unlikely!
What are the facts?
Fact 1. One in five pupils aged 11 to 15 said they have tried smoking, discovered the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Fact 2. The number of children trying cigarettes has dipped to the lowest level on record.
Fact 3. The NHS statistics authority said this is the lowest level recorded since the school pupil survey began in 1982.
Fact 4. The research reveals that youngsters’ attitudes towards smoking, drinking and taking drugs are "considerably" healthier than a decade ago.
Fact 5. The prevalence of such habits among school children drastically dipped between 2003 and 2013, according to the HSCIC.
Fact 6. In 2003, 9 per cent of pupils admitted to being regular smokers. That had fallen by two-thirds to just 3 per cent by 2013.
More interesting discoveries:
The survey, which involved 5,000 pupils in 174 schools across England, also showed that youngsters drinking alcohol ‘in the past week’ had dropped from 25 per cent in 2003 to less than one in 10.
And as for the notion that today’s youngsters are alcohol and drug-fuelled, the number of youngsters saying they’d used illegal drugs in the last month had halved in the decade!
Interesting just how much a few facts can ruin a good scare story isn’t it?