Clean-living generation of children snub cigarettes and alcohol

Restrictions on smoking have become tighter, with sales from vending machines banned and displays of cigarettes banished from shopsH. Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images

Children are drinking and smoking less than ever, according to an NHS survey that points to the cleanest-living generation on record.

Experimentation with alcohol among under-16s is down by two thirds since 2003 and the number of children trying cigarettes has fallen by three quarters. Public health leaders praised a crackdown on under-age sales for improving child health but warned of little progress on exercise and obesity.

About a third of children are too heavy while only one in five is as active as they should be, according to data from 14,000 adults and children, of whom 7,000 were examined by a nurse.

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