The number of 12 to 17 year olds smoking cigarettes on a daily basis has risen since plain packaging was introduced in Australia, new government data has revealed.

The proportion of children who smoked daily grew from 2.5% to 3.4% between 2010 and 2013 according to the Australian Government’s national drug strategy household survey.

However, the same survey also revealed an overall fall in the number of daily smokers.

The number of daily smokers fell from 15.1% in 2010 to 12.8% in 2013, continuing the long-term trend of gradual decline which has been witnessed since 1993 – almost 20 years before plain packaging was introduced.

The Rural Shops Alliance (RSA) urged the UK government to take note of the findings.

“The introduction of standardised packaging has had no discernible effect on the number of people smoking in Australia,” RSA chief executive Ken Parsons said.

“The evidence suggests that the proportion of smokers was declining before standardised packaging was introduced and continued to decline at the same rate afterwards. The graphs are quite clear on this point – there is no change in the long term trend.”