SMOKING rates among children have hit an all-time low according to the latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Regular smoking among 11- to 15-year-olds has fallen to a record low level of three per cent compared to nine per cent in 2003.

During the past decade, the proportion of young people who have tried smoking has halved from 42 per cent in 2003 to 22 per cent in 2013.

Fiona Andrews, director of Smokefree South West, said: “These figures are really encouraging. They show the impact that co-ordinated tobacco control policies can have in helping young people make positive decisions and protecting them from the influence of tobacco advertising that attempts to recruit new smokers.

“The Government target was to get smoking in 15 year olds down to 12 per cent by 2015. That smoking numbers are down to only two thirds of that by 2013 is testament to the co-ordinated and evidence-based tobacco control measures that have been taken, often in the face of strong lobbying by tobacco manufacturers motivated by making profits from selling a product that kills half its long-term users.”