According to a new survey, 46 percent of the upper-secondary students in Denmark smoke daily or occasionally, and figures from the State Institute of Public Health (SIPH) reveal there has been a massive increase in the number of young smokers over the past 20 years.
The survey, which questioned 75,000 youngsters at the country’s gymnasiums (attended by 16 to 19-year-olds), showed that while the number of daily smokers has fallen from 17 to 12 percent over the past 20 years, the number of occasional smokers has sky-rocketed.
“We have in no way, shape or form got to grips with the massive problem that smoking causes public health,” Janne Tolstrup, a professor at SIPH, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“Considering how hard they’ve worked over the past 20 years on preventative measures with young people and smoking, these results cannot be considered a success. On the contrary.”
The problem is even more obvious at vocational schools, where 37 percent of the students smoke every day and every fifth student smokes occasionally.
And compared to adult smoking habits, which have been almost halved over the past 20 years, the young people’s smoking habits have remained pretty much the same.
The health minister, Sophie Løhde, rejected the notion that the new figures proved the preventative measures being taken were a failure.