SL has lowest prevalence of teen smokers

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By 2017-06-19

US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their youth tobacco report states that the lowest prevalence of teen smoking (1.7 per cent) was seen in Sri Lanka.

Roughly 11 per cent of youths aged 13 to 15 around the world use tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, a global survey of students suggests.

Tobacco use is the world's leading cause of preventable death and serious illness, killing an estimated 6 million people each year, researchers note in the youth tobacco report from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most smokers take to the habit in their teens.

For the current study, researchers examined data from surveys of teens in 61 countries conducted from 2012 to 2015. Half of nations had a smoking rate of at least 15 per cent for boys and at least 8 per cent for girls, they found. "Smoking has been shown to harm nearly every organ of the body, and science shows that most adult smokers first start smoking during adolescence," said lead study author Rene Arrazola of the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC.

"Young people who begin to smoke at an earlier age are more likely than those who start at older ages to develop long-term nicotine addiction," Arrazola said by email. "Therefore, efforts to prevent youth tobacco use are critical to prevent another generation of adults who smoke and suffer from smoking-related death and disease."

Across all of the countries in the study, the lowest prevalence of teen smoking (1.7 per cent) was seen in Sri Lanka. The highest prevalence (35 per cent) was in Timor-Leste.

For boys, the lowest smoking prevalence was 2.9 per cent in Tajikistan and the highest was 61.4 per cent in Timor-Leste. For girls, the lowest rate - 1.6 per cent – was seen in Tajikistan and the highest - 29 per cent - in Bulgaria.

In the majority of countries, at least half of current tobacco smokers said they wanted to quit, the study also found. The proportion of student smokers who said they desired to quit ranged from a low of 32 per cent in Uruguay to a high of 90 per cent in the Philippines.

Limitations of the study include the reliance on teens to accurately recall and report on their smoking behaviour, the authors note.

It also only included students enrolled in school, which might not fully represent smoking behaviour in these countries.




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