Shock figures show six children start smoking every day in Derbyshire.
Young people aged 11 to 15 in the county are picking up the deadly habit at a rate of 2,312 each year, figures released by Cancer Research UK reveal.
The charity has released the data as part of its Setting the Standard campaign which promotes action to discourage young people from starting to smoke as they return to school after the summer holidays.
It has called for the Government to act quickly on its pledge to introduce legislation on plain packaging for cigarettes.
Cancer Research UK spokesman Paul Wadsworth said: “With many 11-year-olds in Derbyshire starting secondary school for the first time, it’s imperative that cigarettes are sold in plain, standard packs rather than in the glitzy branding that’s so alluring to children.”
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “There’s a lot of work taking place to help discourage young people from becoming smokers as well as helping young smokers to stop.”
If you’re a parent and would like help and advice, call the Derbyshire Stop Smoking Service on 01246 868425.