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  • Health & Medicine

London kids are lighting up

The Cancer Research UK logo
by Cancer Research UK | News

13 August 2002

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One third of London’s under-16’s admit to smoking, according to a survey1 conducted by Cancer Research UK.

Statistics for the under-10’s are even more shocking. Two thirds of girls who were quizzed by the charity said they smoked, although the figure for boys in that age group remained around 30 per cent.

Despite their under-age smoking habits, more than half the children between 10 and 16 said they worried about their future health. And 80 per cent of teenage girls would change their habits to reduce the risk of illness in adulthood.

Two thirds of teenage boys and more than half the girls said they were excited by science. But when it came to careers the most popular choice for girls was to be a popstar while the favourite job for boys was a computer expert. Three times as many girls as boys said they would like to be a doctor or nurse.

The children answered questions on science, health and lifestyle habits at Tomorrow’s World roadshow at Earls Court where they were entertained by a travelling pop band, created by Cancer Research UK.

The all-singing, all-dancing band performed a music spectacular designed to inform teenagers about science and cancer.

The band has been performing with the help of an interactive space capsule and science information robot to help put across the charity’s message: to overcome cancer through education, fundraising, recruitment, lifestyle and research.

By stimulating children’s interest in science the charity is hoping that more youngsters will be inspired to take up a career working in the fight against cancer.

When it came to healthy eating two thirds of the London teenage girls and half the boys surveyed said they ate vegetables every day.

Half the children aged between 10-12 said they protected their skin in the sun sometimes but one third admitted to never using sun protection.

Professor John Griffiths, director of Cancer Research UK’s Biomedical Resonance Resarch Group at St George’s Hospital in London says: “We know that children aged 11 to 16 are actively making decisions that will influence their future health.

“It’s crucial that Cancer Research UK gets in early to inform these kids and encourages them to form healthy habits for life. Using a pop band to get this message across is a fantastic idea.”

Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Information at Cancer Research UK, says: “It’s very easy to presume that we know how kids feel. We believe that we have a lot to learn about children’s attitudes and their aspirations for the future and the more we understand, the easier it will be for us to help.”



  1. Almost 600 people took part in the survey