THE phenomenal success of the mobile phone may be having an unexpected health benefit among teenagers: curbing smoking.
Lounging on street corners with a mobile may be as effective a way to look cool and grown up as dangling a cigarette between the lips, says Anne Charlton, emeritus professor at Manchester University and Clive Bates, director of the anti-smokin pressure group ASH.
Writing in the British Medical Journal the authors say that marketing of mobiles may be achieving what years of warnings about tobaccco have failed to do. Figures show that 23 per cent of teenagers smoked last year compared with 30 per cent in 1996. By last August 70 per cent of 15 to 17-year-olds were estimated to own a mobile.