A recently published study shows that 41.4% of 14 and 15 year old smokers in Switzerland have already bought their own cigarettes from a shop, supermarket, kiosque, bar, restaurant or vending machine.
The rate was higher in French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland (45.0%) than in German-speaking Switzerland (39.4%), and higher for boys (45.2%) than for girls (37.5%).
Smokers were defined as those who had smoked a cigarette over the last 30 days.
Another report shows that 15.8% of 15 to 17 year olds smoke in Switzerland.
Smoking typically starts during adolescence. Most adult smokers have had their first cigarette by the age of 18. The number of cigarettes required to establish a nicotine addiction is lower for adolescents than for adults, so addiction is faster, according to another report.
Many adolescents are attracted to the habit because they perceive smoking as “adult” behaviour and want to be seen as adult by their peers.
More than half of 15 to 25 year olds in Switzerland who smoke daily have at least one parent who smokes compared to a quarter of those who have never smoked. Smokers hoping their children won’t smoke would do well to quit themselves.
In addition, Addiction Suisse thinks tobacco laws need to be better applied. One of its surveys shows that one in six 15-17 year olds have received a free promotional gift from a tobacco company.