Cigarette smoking among 15 year olds
Last updated 4 March 2021 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
8.2% of 15 year olds responding to the 2014/15 survey were smokers
smoking was least common amongst 15 year olds in the Black, Asian and Other ethnic groups
smoking was most common amongst 15 year olds in the White and Mixed ethnic groups
White 15 year olds were nearly 4 times more likely to be smokers than Black 15 year olds
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the percentage of 15 year olds who said they were current smokers in the year to March 2015.
Current smokers were those who agreed that they:
- sometimes smoke cigarettes but don't smoke as many as one a week
- usually smoke between one and 6 cigarettes per week
- usually smoke more than 6 cigarettes per week
The data does not include people who:
- had never smoked
- had only ever tried smoking once or twice
- used to smoke but do not smoke now
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.
Not included in the data
The data does not include 15 year olds studying at independent schools.
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for 5 aggregated ethnic groups:
This means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make any reliable conclusions about any of the 18 ethnic groups.
Read the detailed methodology document.
The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:
interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed
how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the whole group being studied
In the data file
3. By ethnicity
Summary of Cigarette smoking among 15 year olds By ethnicity Summary
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
What About YOUth? 2014 (WAY 2014) is a newly-established survey designed to collect robust data on a range of health behaviours amongst 15 year-olds. This data is collected to understand smoking patterns in children and address the issues of reducing the uptake of smoking among children.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was commissioned by the Department of Health to run the survey in direct response to the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum. This Forum identified gaps in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) and other key health behaviour measures relating to young people. HSCIC contracted Ipsos MORI to carry out the survey.
WAY 2014 is the first survey to be conducted of its kind and it is hoped that the survey will be repeated in order to form a time series of comparable data on a range of indicators for 15 year-olds across England. Data has been collected on general health, diet, use of free time, physical activity, smoking, drinking, emotional wellbeing, drugs and bullying.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, geography, value, confidence intervals, unweighted sample size