An early start for smokers

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ONE in seven youngsters in Rotherham starts smoking by the age of 15.

The annual report of the Rotherham Tobacco Control Alliance says more than half of them are buying cigarettes from shops.

The report also reveals the town’s overall smoking rate has remained static at 24 per cent, despite a rise in cigarette prices of a third over the last 30 years.

The Alliance report says: “We need to continue to raise the awareness of the links between illicit tobacco and organised crime, and of the increased risks in smoking unregulated tobacco products, often with far higher levels of contaminants than standard cigarettes.”

It also states the smoking rate for children aged between 11 and 15 is higher than the national average.