Redbridge children more likely to smoke than national average

PUBLISHED: 10:32 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:32 12 March 2019

Children in Redbridge are more likely to smoke than the national average. Picture: PA/ Martin Rickett

Children in Redbridge are more likely to smoke than the national average. Picture: PA/ Martin Rickett

PA Wire/PA Images

Children in Redbridge are far more likely to start smoking than in other parts of the country.

More than 500 young people in the borough, aged between 14 and 18, were confidentially surveyed as part of Healthwatch Redbridge’s Healthy Living Project.

The number of children admitting they smoked was four times higher than the national average at 12 per cent, with most saying they used a shisha pipe to inhale.

Despite higher than average smoking rates, the use of e-cigarettes was low, deviating from the national trend which saw an increase.

As well as smoking the survey looked at alcohol consumption, nutrition and wellbeing.

The number of youths drinking alcohol was found to be 4pc higher than the national average with 16pc saying they drank.

A number also admitted to regularly drinking twice a week.

“We are concerned by our findings, which seem to show young people are not getting the best start in life,” said Cathy Turland of Redbridge Healthwatch.

“We need to continue working with our councillors and statutory partners to support our communities and identify the challenges and trends that impact on health and social care and get commitment from service providers to respond to them.”

Nearly all of the Redbridge children surveyed (98pc) said they did not get the recommended seven hours of exercise each week and a 85pc said they were eating less than the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.

In addition, 12pc said they were not coping well emotionally.

The findings were presented at a roundtable event with councillors, healthcare and social care professionals.

Speaking at the meeting, Sir Robert Francis QC, chairman of Healthwatch England, said he was impressed with the “great work” being carried out to make a difference to the quality and effectiveness for health and social care services in the borough.

“Healthwatch is uniquely placed to champion the value of engaging all elements of the community in developing a service which is fit for the future and Healthwatch Redbridge is proving that,” he said.

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