According to new figures from the National Institute of Public Health, the number of 15-year-olds who light up a cigarette on a daily basis in Denmark has dropped to 6 percent for boys and 4 percent for girls.
In comparison, the figures were almost twice as high in 2010 when 11 percent of 15-year-old boys and 10 percent of the girls smoked every day.
“The schools have started taking it more seriously and have brought the issue to the classroom,” said Per Kim Nielsen, a project manager for the ‘Børn, unge og rygning’ (children, youth and smoking) initiative at cancer advocate organisation Kræftens Bekæmpelse.
“We have made the material they work with from the seventh to ninth grade, but it’s difficult to take all the credit for the trend.”
Bans and price hikes
Nielsen underlined that the considerable drop can also be attributed to the fact that it has been illegal to sell cigarettes to young people under the age of 18 since 2008, while it has been illegal to smoke on the premises of all Danish public schools since 2012.
Nielsen added that the government should increase the price of cigarettes in order to further reduce the number of young smokers.
Despite the positive trend, a survey at Aarhus University revealed in April that more young males were smoking cannabis than previously estimated.