Children exposed to a positive and comprehensive social environment in schools are less likely to take up smoking, says a new study.
Lead researcher Marion Henderson of the Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow revealed that quality of teacher-pupil relationships, pupil's attitude to school and the school's focus on caring and inclusiveness impact students' smoking habits.
In the study involving of 5092 pupils from 24 Scottish schools discovered that on average, 25pct of males and 39pct of females aged 15-16, reported that they either regularly or occasionally smoked.
Henderson explained how current school-based anti-smoking interventions were largely ineffective.
"Most focus on individual characteristics rather than the environment in which adolescents smoke. Our research has shown that this environment acts to either encourage or discourage smoking," said Henderson.
"Our results suggest that investing in the social environment of schools and endeavouring to make school a positive experience even for less academically able pupils may have the potential to reduce smoking rates, particularly for boys," she added.
The new research is published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.