In comparison to girls in other European countries, Swedish girls in the youngest age group, 14-years-old and younger, are twice as likely to have started smoking.
The studies results concern public health experts.
“It shows clearly that girls in Sweden begin at significantly younger ages than in other countries in Europe, which is alarming,” Margareta Haglund, a tobacco policy expert at the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet), told Svergies Radio.
In the study, which took place on the initiative of the international cancer institute in Lyon, France, 5,000 women in Ireland, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, and Sweden, answered questions about when and why they started smoking.
Haglund, who helped compile the results from Sweden, warned of the dangers associated with smoking at an early age.
“The earlier you start smoking, the larger the risk to your health. If you start before you are 15-years-old, there is a four times greater risk for developing lung cancer than if you start after 25,” she said.
Haglund suggested that tobacco companies not be allowed to market their products to young people and that tobacco products only be sold from behind the sales counter so that they are not visible to passersby.