(Meredith / CNN) – Cigarette smoking may be on the decline worldwide, but according to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is still responsible for the deaths of some 6 million people worldwide.
For most, tobacco use probably started in childhood. So, at what age do most people start smoking?
In the United States and much of Europe, research indicates that regular lighting typically starts between 15 and 16 years old.
In the US, the average age was 15.3 when adult smokers reported onset of smoking, according to a report by the 2014 surgeon general. The data in the report are from the 201
In Europe, smoke levels peaked at 16 According to a study published in the magazine PLOS One on Wednesday
girls may smoke earlier than boys because they might mature earlier, said Alessandro Marcon, lead author of the study Assistant Professor the Department of Diagnostics and Public Health at the University of Verona in Italy.
"Adolescence can widen the gap between physical and social maturity at a young age, leading to poor behaviors such as smoking, which may be perceived as adults, he wrote in an e-mail.
The study, by The European Union's Horizon 2020 program was funded based on pooled data from six studies that were part of the Aging Lungs in European Cohorts Using this data, researchers examined the evolution of smoking between 1970 and 2009.
They classified their findings in four regions: Northern Europe, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, including Estonia, Macedonia and Poland, Southern Europe, including Italy, Portugal and Spain, and Western Europe, to which Belgium, France, Germany, the The Netherlands and Switzerland belonged
Among the smokers who ever smoked for over a year, the di Researchers found that smoke evacuation rates were highest during late adolescence.
Around 2005 Initiation rates during late adolescence were lowest among boys and girls in northern Europe, with 20 smoke initiatives per 1,000 youth per year, and the highest rates were among boys from Southern Europe with 80 initiations per 1,000 teenagers per year.
It was not surprising that the lowest rate of smoke initiation was observed in Northern European countries, which are at the forefront of tobacco control and smoking research, "said Marcon.
The researchers found that Rate of smoking initiation among older teens declined significantly between 1970 and 2009 across Europe, except in Southern Europe, where the decline waned after 1990.
The researchers also found that a significant increase after 1990 was observed in SM initiation of Boys and girls aged 11 to 15 in all European regions except boys in Northern Europe
"We were quite surprised at the significant increase in smoking among young adolescents," Marcon said.
"Girls from Western Europe – Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland – reached the rate of smoking development among young adolescents n The rate observed in late adolescents aged 16 to 20 years approximately in 2005. In the latter group, the rate was declining, "he said.
The study had some limitations, including the fact that multiple samples were used by individuals from different studies who may not be representative across Europe. Also, there was no difference between the use of cigarette packs, hand rolled cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes.
The data in the new study was also based on retrospective questionnaires and self-reports
"This study suggests that in many European countries more needs to be done to initiate smoking in children and boys and girls
"At a very young age, nicotine can cause more addiction," he said. "Many European countries should step up the implementation of tobacco control measures that reach young people, in particular tobacco price increases, the enforcement of legislation for minors, simple packaging and advertising bans."
Dr. James Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire, pointed out that the new study was not about experimentation. Rather, it focused on children who regularly consume cigarettes and are likely to grow into regular smokers.
He added that the findings would likely differ if the study measured the cigarette smoke rate in children in the United States today
. "Children smoke less in the US than in Europe, and adults smoke less in the US than in most European countries," said Sargent, who was not involved in the study but conducted research on tobacco control  "States and local Local governments in this country have done a good job of working on policies that make it difficult to smoke – room laws and taxes on tobacco, "he said of the US.
However, in the future, Sargent It would be helpful to study at what age children start using other products, such as e-cigarettes.
According to a 2016 report, there was a 900% increase in student e-cigarettes between 2011 and 2015 by the US surgeon general.
"E-cigarettes a" This is the most widely used tobacco product in American adolescents, more than cigarettes, "said Sargent." These are the products that young people seem to be turning to, and they continue to turn to cigarettes
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