Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Smoking uptake in UK children: analysis of the UK Millennium Cohort Study
  1. Anthony A Laverty1,
  2. Filippos T Filippidis1,
  3. David Taylor-Robinson2,
  4. Christopher Millett1,
  5. Andrew Bush3,
  6. Nicholas S Hopkinson3
  1. 1 Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Public Health and Policy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  3. 3 NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anthony A Laverty, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London W6 8RP, UK; a.laverty{at}


We used data from 11 577 children in the UK Millennium Cohort Study, collected at approximately 14 years of age (early teens), to assess characteristics associated with smoking, and generated regional estimates of numbers of smokers. 13.8% of UK early teens studied had ever smoked; 1.9% were current smokers. This corresponds to 2 28 136 and 39 653 (13–14 year olds) in the UK, respectively. Ever smoking risk increased if caregivers (26.0% vs 10.9%) or friends smoked (35.1% vs 4.0%), with a dose–response effect for friends’ smoking. Caregiver and peer-group smoking remain important drivers of child smoking uptake and thus important targets for intervention.

  • tobacco control

Statistics from


  • Contributors AAL had full access to all of the data and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Study concept and design was by AAL and NSH. All authors were involved in the interpretation of data, drafting of the manuscript and revising it for critical intellectual content.

  • Funding There was no specific funding for this work but CM and AAL are funded by the NIHR (NIHR RP 014-04-032) and the Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit at Imperial College London is grateful for the support of the NIHR School of Public Health Research. AB receives funding from the NIHR as a senior investigator as well as the Asthma UK Centre for applied research. DT-R is funded by the MRC on a Clinician Scientist Fellowship (MR/P008577/1).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The millennium cohort study data is available free of charge to accredited researchers from the UK Data Service

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. There was a typographical error to the "ever smoking risk" for "friends smoked" in the Abstract.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.