Teenage smokers targetted

news: Teenage smokers targetted

The sale of cigarettes to people under the age of 18 could be banned as part of measures to cut the number of young people taking up smoking. Health Minister, Luís Filipe Pereira, has confirmed that the ban will form part of his National Health Plan, due to be implemented between now and 2010.

Smoking among young people has now been recognised as a serious problem. A recent European study revealed that the percentage of 15-year-old smokers in Portugal almost doubled between 1998 and 2002. According to the European Network for the Prevention of Smoking, the number of young Portuguese smokers increased from 14 per cent to 26 per cent.

The consumption of alcohol by young people could also be subjected to new laws if José Sampaio Faria, from the General Health Administration, gets his way. He is proposing that the price of alcoholic drinks should be increased so that young people will be forced to drink less. The Health Minister has yet to comment on this strategy.