According to the Smoking and Health Activities (ASH, 2015), approximately 207,000 children in the UK start smoking each year. About two-thirds of adult smokers report smoking before the age of 18.

The younger a person starts smoking, the greater the harm. Smoking by children and adolescents poses serious health risks in both the short and long term. Children who smoke are more susceptible to coughing and increased sputum, wheezing and shortness of breath than non-smokers.

Smoking impairs lung growth and can increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in later life. The sooner children smoke and continue to smoke as adults, the greater the risk of lung cancer or heart disease.

About two-thirds of students report exposure to cigarette smoke. Bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (cradle death) are more common in infants and children whose one or both parents smoke.