No Smoking Day on teenagers with mobiles

Friday 03 November 2000

Embargo 00:01 Friday 3rd November 2000


Mobile phones ­ the new cigarettes?


The organisers of No Smoking Day welcomed today’s startling new insights into children’s smoking (Charlton & Bates; BMJ letters).  Doreen McIntyre, Chief Executive of the charity that runs the annual No Smoking Day campaigns, explained:


“For years so-called health experts like me have searched in vain for that elusive something that could compete with the thrill, mystique and glamour children see in smoking. How wonderful to learn that true to form,children seem to have found an answer for themselves. Mobile phones are grown-up, glamorous & costly; they offer something to do when you are bored or alone, and a way to keep your social life going. They even have the benefit of annoying other people, and an element of health risk, and certainly seem to be addictive  ­ perfect!”


A life-long non-smoker, Doreen added:


“It all makes such sense. I’ve only recently started to experiment with mobile phones myself, and am amazed at how rapidly I got hooked. I didn’t like them at first, and couldn’t use them properly, but now I’m used to it and use mine all the time. I especially like the buzz from that first text message of the day. For the first time though, I’m beginning to feel what it’s like to be tutted at in public places by non-users ­ so I’m careful about where I dial up.


“Seriously though, if kids are spending their money on phonecards instead of cigarettes, then that sounds like great news. If they’lll end their phones to smoky pals to call a helpline, even better.  And if, like cigarettes, mobile phones lead some kids to experiment with stronger, harder stuff, like hand-held computers,then the country’s IT skill base is in for a boost. This new report has given me a great idea for No Smoking Day 2001: let’s get young mobile owners to show that when it comes to smoking, it’s better to talk.”


Note to editors

The next No Smoking Day will be 14 March 2001.

The No Smoking Day charity is a coalition of the UK’s health education agencies and major health agencies.



Doreen McIntyre, Chief Executive, No Smoking Day:

020 7916 1653 (office)

0370 657 241 (mobile)