Western Australia - kids no longer interested in smoking..

September 21, 2009 - The number of 12- to 17-year-old West Australians (Western Australia, WA, W.A.) who smoke has dropped by more than two-thirds in the past 25 years, in a resounding victory for anti-smoking campaigns.

The 2008 Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug survey released today shows that less than five percent of 12- to 17-year-old West Australians now smoke regularly, down from 17.5 percent in 1984.

The proportion of students who have never smoked has also dramatically turned around. In 2008, almost 75 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds had never smoked, compared with almost 32 percent in 1984.

WA Health Minister Kim Hames said the impressive results showed the success of sustained anti-tobacco campaigning over 25 years.

Dr. Hames: "Only a few years ago nobody would have believed that regular smoking would be under 5 per cent in school children and under 15 per cent in adults, and that there would be legislation banning point-of-sale displays and smoking around children in cars."

"WA already has some of the lowest smoking rates in the country for adults and children and these results tell us that young people are getting the message.

"In 2008, only 4.8 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds had smoked in the past week, down from 6.1 per cent in 2005, and 17.5 percent in 1984.

"WA had the lowest smoking rates nationally among school children in 2005 and there can be little doubt that we continue to lead the nation in results."

Dr. Hames, said the smoking turnaround would save 40,000 lives in the next 40 years.

The survey showed a reduction in smoking across the majority of age groups with the biggest drop since 2005 seen in 16-year-olds, where the proportion reporting smoking in the past week decreased from 9.9 to 6.7 percent.

In 2008, girls were more likely to have smoked in the past week (5.1 per cent) or year (16.8 percent) than boys (4.6 and 14.9 percent), but significantly fewer girls had smoked in the past week or month compared to the 2005 survey.

Reference: Kids butt out as anti-smoking message hits home, CHRIS THOMSON, WA Today, 9/16/2009.

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