Tobacco use kills more than 8 million worldwide each year and can cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and chronic obstructive lung disease, as well as affect fertility.
However, despite the fact that we are talking about such a serious health problem, information, education and all the campaigns that are carried out, in 20 years it has barely been possible to reduce tobacco use among young people by 40% of the countries of the world .
A health problem
Tobacco use among teens and children is a critical problem, since most adult smokers start in their teens or childhoods. Despite an overall reduction in cigarette use over the past 20 years, nearly 1 in 5 boys (17.9%) and more than 1 in 10 girls (11.5%) worldwide used tobacco when least once in the past month between 2010-2018 , according to a new study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health .
Smoking prevalence was highest in the Western Pacific region for children (17 · 6%), with Tokelau having the highest prevalence at 49.3%. The European region had the highest prevalence of smoking among girls (90%), with a prevalence of 23.7% in Bulgaria and 23.6% in Italy.
In the study, there was a variable prevalence of smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products in different regions, which is believed to be due to differences in the way tobacco control measures are implemented and monitored. For example, Uruguay has been at the forefront of tobacco control, with a total ban on tobacco promotion and advertising and strict pictorial health warnings. As a result, cigarette consumption fell by 17% every 10 years (from 20.1% in 2007 to 8% in 2014).
The prevalence of using any tobacco product was two to three times higher in 15-year-olds than in 13-year-olds in most countries. Peer pressure, the desire to experience new things, and the ability to buy cigarettes could explain this trend. As Bo Xi of Shandong University, China, and lead author of the study explains:
Cigarette use may have decreased in most of the study countries, but there are still large numbers of young people who smoke. The fact that in many countries the prevalence of the use of tobacco products other than cigarettes is higher or as high as the prevalence of cigarette use shows us that there is still much work to be done. The need to strengthen tobacco control efforts, which include specific policies for different tobacco products and a focus on adolescent health education globally, is more important than ever.