10:40am Wednesday 13th February 2013
Smoking and drug taking among the borough's teens is well above the national average a survey of school children has shown.
A survey conducted by Wandsworth council at 10 schools questioned students on their alcohol, smoking and drugs habits, as well as emotional health.
It found there was an increase of pupils having tried smoking since 2008, with 27 per cent admitting to having ever smoked compared with 24 per cent in 2008 and 19 per cent nationally.
Three per cent admitted they were regular smokers, and the mean age of those trying their first cigarette was 12-years-old.
About a quarter of students said they were offered drugs and 19 per cent said they had taken drugs, above the national average of 12 per cent, but below the figure of 28 per cent in 2008.
The most common drugs were cannabis, glue and solvents.
There was a 10 per cent decrease in the levels of children having ever drank, which was at 43 per cent in 2008, taking Wandsworth below the national average.
Most pupils said their emotional health was excellent, but young girls were more likely to describe their emotional health as fair or poor.
Last week the council launched a poster campaign to encourage youngsters not to smoke.
The Wandsworth Tobacco Alliance is aiming to meet the Wandsworth target of reducing smoking by three per cent in 2015.
Councillor James Maddan, a member of the alliance, said: "Reducing smoking will be a key aim of the council when it retains control of public health in April.
"We will continue our work in schools, as well as working with whole families, and even entire communities, to break the cycle of smoking and other behaviours that cause ill health."
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