Youth smoking rates down

smoking, cigarette packet , plain packaging. Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
smoking, cigarette packet , plain packaging. Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

SMOKING rates among young people have fallen along with cigarette brand recognition, new research has shown.

The report by Cancer Institute NSW, and published in the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, is the first to assess the medium-term effects of the ban on youth attitudes and smoking behaviour.

Research showed smoking rates among young people aged 12 to 24 fell from 15% to 11% in the 24 months following the ban on displaying tobacco at the point of sale in New South Wales in 2010 and Queensland in 2011.

It showed the number of young people able to recall at least one brand fell from 65% to 59%.

Chief cancer officer and Cancer Institute NSW chief executive David Currow said it had long been suggested that tobacco product displays effectively advertised tobacco brands.

"Point-of-sale tobacco bans are contributing to the de-normalisation of smoking, particularly among youth, who we know are most at risk of being influenced by the power of tobacco branding,' Professor Currow said.

"This report joins the mounting evidence that demonstrates our world-leading strategies - including plain packaging, smoke-free policies and mass media campaigns - are making an impact," he said.

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the results reinforced the necessity of a range of strategies to help Queenslanders quit smoking.

"Historical declines in smoking rates in Queensland are a credit to the State Government, with thanks to bans on smoking in pubs, clubs, and restaurants," Ms Clift said.

She said the introduction of smoke-free spaces would  have rates of smoking among young people continue to decline.

"The next step towards a smoke-free Queensland requires no smoking at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and in pedestrian malls," she said.

Topics:  cancer council

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