Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England

This report contains results from a survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11. 12,051 pupils in 177 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016. | NHS Digital

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This survey report presents information on the percentage of pupils who have ever smoked, tried alcohol or taken drugs and their attitudes towards these behaviours.  It also includes breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity and region.

Other areas covered include the use of new psychoactive substances (also known as legal highs), beliefs about drinking, whether pupils had ever got drunk and consequences of drinking. Questions on the use of nitrous oxide have also been asked for the first time.

Key Facts

In 2016

  • 19 per cent of 11-15 year old pupils had ever smoked, which is similar to 2014
  • 44 per cent of pupils had ever drunk alcohol
  • 24 per cent of pupils reported they had ever taken drugs. This compares to 15 per cent in 2014. Part of the increase since 2014 may be explained by the addition of questions on nitrous oxide and new psychoactive substances. After allowing for this however, it still represents a large increase. Therefore an estimate from the next survey in 2018 is required before we can be confident that these survey results reflect a genuine trend in the wider population. In the meantime the results for drug taking from this survey should be treated with caution.
  • 3 per cent of pupils were regular smokers, 10 per cent had drunk alcohol in the last week and 10 per cent had taken drugs in the last month.

Full report: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England – 2016: Report


How alcohol and drug treatment helps to reduce crime

Report re-affirms how important drug treatment is in cutting crime, as well as preventing alcohol and drug-related deaths and helping people recover from dependence. | Ministry of Justice | Public Health England


In England, almost 300,000 adults get help for drug and alcohol dependency each year. Most people receiving drug treatment are addicted to heroin or crack cocaine, or both, and many commit crimes to fund their addiction.

New analysis published last week by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has added to the evidence of how alcohol and drug treatment can help to prevent crime.

The analysis revealed that:

  • In 2012, nearly 133,000 people started treatment for drugs and alcohol, 35% of which had a criminal conviction recorded against them in the two years previous
  • Overall 44% of people in treatment hadn’t offended again two years after starting treatment
  • The number of recorded offences by people in treatment fell by a third over the two years, from 129,000 to 86,500
  • People who had been in prison before starting treatment, and those who dropped out and came back to treatment, were more likely to reoffend
  • People who successfully completed their treatment, or were still in treatment at the end of the two years, were less likely to reoffend

Full story at Public Health England

Full report: The impact of community-based drug and alcohol treatment on re-offending

Improving air quality in the UK

Research shows 44 UK cities breach World Health Organization guidelines on air pollution


This briefing, launched in parallel with the 2017 Lancet Countdown report, focuses on the links between health and climate change, and their implications for the UK’s political commitments. It has been developed in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians,  and focuses on implications for policymakers in 4 key areas:

  • Health impacts of air pollution in the UK and policy responses
  • Decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity system
  • Sustainable and active transport
  • Health impacts of extreme weather and climate adaptation in the UK

Full document: Lancet Countdown 2017 Report: Briefing for UK Policymakers

Influenza vaccine uptake in primary school children

Public Health England) has published Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in children of primary school age: winter season 2016 to 2017 End of season report.

This document reports on the cumulative uptake of influenza vaccine during the 2016 to 2017 season for children of school years 1 and 2 age across England; and children of school years 1 to 6 ages in selected pilot areas.

Tobacco control policy overview

Tobacco control policy overview | House of Commons Library

The Government’s new tobacco control plan was published in 2017, and seeks to reduce smoking overall and target this inequality in smoking rates. This briefing paper provides a summary on the tobacco control plan, tobacco control policies and smoking cessation services.

Full document available here

Improving healthcare access for people with learning disabilities

Guidance for social care staff on how to help people with learning disabilities get better access to medical services to improve their health | Public Health England


The health charter for social care and accompanying guidance provide information about the steps organisations and providers can take to improve the health and wellbeing of the people they support. There are practical tips as well as links to further information and useful resources.

There is also a self-assessment tool to enable organisations signed up to the health charter to measure progress and develop an action plan for improvements.

The series of short information sheets show social care staff how they can help people with learning disabilities to get better access to health services.

The documents can be accessed via Public Health England

Public health: everyone’s business?

NHS Providers has launched a new report which promotes the views of leaders from a range of trusts and other parts of the service on some of the key issues facing the NHS today.

Public health: everyones’ business?  features 12 interviews that look at concerns including:

  • promoting the public health role as we move towards accountable care
  • dealing with the challenges of constrained funding
  • harnessing digital technology
  • developing the role of the public health clinician
  • working to shape the wider determinants of health inequalities.

The report uses the interviews with NHS trust leaders, from the hospital, mental health and ambulance sectors, as well as academics, system leaders, local government representatives, and those with strategic responsibility for delivery and commissioning, to help gain a better understanding of NHS providers’ role in shaping and delivering public health and care.