The global survey of students suggests that approx 11 per cent of the teen youth around the world today is consuming cigarettes or cigars Photograph: (Reuters)
Researchers have found that roughly 11 per cent of youth aged 13 to 15 around the world use tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars.
Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death and serious illness, killing an estimated 6 million people each year.
Researchers found that most smokers pick up the habit in their teens.
Researchers examined the data from around 61 countries. Half the countries had a smoking rate of about 15 per cent for boys and 8 per cent for girls.
“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.
The lowest presence of teen smoking was seen in Sri Lanka at 1.7 per cent and the highest presence of smoking was in Timor-Leste at around 35 per cent.
“I was surprised to see that most of the countries were in the 10 to 20 percent range; I would have thought the numbers would be higher, but they either are similar or slightly higher than rates in the U.S. which are around 10 to 15 percent,” said Dr. Maher Karam-Hage, associate medical director of the tobacco treatment program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.