46% of Danish upper-secondary students smoke either daily or occasionally, according to a new survey by the State Institute of Public Health (SIPH), with the numbers revealing a huge increase in young smokers over the past two decades.
The research, which questioned 75,000 16- to 19-year-olds in Denmark’s fitness centres, showed that although there had been a fall from 17 to 12 per cent in the number of people smoking on a daily basis in the past 20 years, there had also been a massive increase in number of occasional smokers.
SIPH professor Janne Tolstrup noted that people had not come to grips with how huge a problem smoking was to the public’s health. She admitted that considering how much work had been done in the past 20 years to advise young people against smoking, the results could not be viewed as a success.
Furthermore, the problem is even more apparent at vocational schools, where 37% of pupils smoke on a daily basis and around 20% occasionally. Meanwhile, while the number of adults smoking has fallen by nearly half during the 20-year period, the number of young people enjoying a puff has remained relatively constant.
Health Minister Sophie Lohde, however, has dismissed claims that the numbers proved preventative measures being taken in Denmark were a failure.