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
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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 https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/.
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.
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