(ANSA) - Rome, September 18 - People who start smoking in their mid teens are at greater risk of developing potentially fatal smoking-related diseases than those who start a decade later, according to a study presented in Rome on Tuesday. 'Generation in smoke, strategies for not starting, tools for stopping' compiled by the association I-think of centre-left Senator and transplant surgeon Ignazio Marino shows that 15.9% of boys and 21.8% of girls in the 15-24 age group smoke and that around 87% of smokers have their first cigarette before they reach 20. A person who starts smoking aged 15 "is three times more likely to die of cancer than someone who starts ten years later" according to the study. "The life of a regular smoker is around 10 years shorter than that of a non-smoker and daily cigarette consumption (by young smokers) is similar to that of an adult," said Marino. Each year in Italy around 70,000 people die from smoking-related diseases, with a cost to the national health service of around 7 billion euros in 2011, or 7% of the overall budget.
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di Giovanni Pastore