Last year, 22 per cent of school pupils in England told researchers that they had smoked once, according to a survey carried out for the Health and Social Care Information Centre by NatCen Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research.
This was lowest level recorded since the survey began in 1982 and continued a decline that has been in progress since 2003, when 42 per cent of pupils had tried smoking.
The survey was designed to monitor smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary school pupils aged 11 to 15.
Information was obtained from 5,187 pupils in 174 schools throughout England in the autumn term of 2013.
Three per cent of pupils reported that they had smoked at least one cigarette a week, the survey definition of regular smoking.
This figure was also the lowest since 1982, and considerably below the nine per cent recorded in 2003.
The prevalence of smoking increased with age.
In 2013, less than 0.5 percent of 11 and 12 year olds said that they smoked at least one cigarette a week, compared with four per cent of 14 year olds and eight per cent of 15 year olds.
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