More German youths say no to cigarettes | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 25.02.2011
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More German youths say no to cigarettes

German kids just don't think smoking is cool anymore. So said the German Center for Health Education, which reported smoking among youths has gone down by about half over the last decade.

Teenage girls smoking cigarettes

Having a smoke is no longer considered cool

Smoking is decidedly "out" among German youths, with just 13 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds in Germany starting the habit in 2010, according a study by the German Center for Health Education.

That is the lowest level since the organization started tracking youth smoking 30 years ago. The Center for Health Education also said about half as many German youths started smoking in 2010 as the same age group did in 2001, when 28 percent of youngsters smoked.

The Center for Health Education's Director, Elisabeth Pott, said the findings are part of a downward trend in smoking in Germany.

"For most young people, smoking today is totally 'out'," she said. "Not smoking has become mainstream in our society, especially among youths and adolescents."

Among 12- to 17-year-olds who smoked, the Center for Health Education found the average age they picked up their first cigarette was 14. The organization's study also said 38 percent of Germans between 18 and 25 years old smoked in 2010, down from 43 percent two years earlier.

Graphic of a cigarette butt

Smoking prevention programs have yielded results

The power of prevention

The German government's drug commissioner, Mechthild Dyckmans, said the study showed the Center for Health Education's smoking prevention programs have been working.

"The further decline of smoking among youths shows long-term success in reaching children and young people with tobacco prevention measures," he said.

Among those measures, the Center for Health Education listed a "smoke free" campaign that shows youngsters the benefits of not smoking and an online program that helps smokers quit.

The center conducted the study through phone interviews with 7,000 12 to 25 year olds in July and August of last year.

Author: Shant Shahrigian (AFP, dpa, dapd)
Editor: Nicole Goebel