Teen smokers increase

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014


THE Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region was alarmed by the prevalence of the smoking trend among teenagers in Baguio City.

According to Dr. Donna Tubera, head of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of Baguio City Health Services Office, a Baguio Youth Tobacco Survey was conducted by the agency with the Saint Louis Laboratory-School of Medicine and findings show even teenagers are now challenged by the tobacco use epidemic.

Study shows among 1,000 student respondents from public high schools in Baguio, 28.1 percent are smoking and 43 percent have ever smoked. The prevalence in the smoking trend was found among 13 to 15 year old age group.

Tubera told media although the findings were less than half, it is already something to be alarmed about because ideally there must be zero consumption of tobacco among teenagers, especially minors.

The health chief questioned the lack of enforcement in the city's no smoking ordinance as to why minors have access to tobaccos when it is in fact prohibited.

She also thinks advertisements, which are still posted in business establishments tempt these teenagers.

While she admitted tobacco manufacturing is not easy to stop, she suggested manufacturers to cover 70% of their product with a graphic health warning to be placed in the upper part of the cigarette box so they may easily be seen by the consumers.

She also stressed the role of parents as a contributory factor in the values of children. She highlighted a smoke-free environment and education at home are important so their children will not be pressured to try it elsewhere.

Teresita Forman-eg, Nurse V of DOH-CAR, emphasized there must be continuous campaign against tobacco use across all ages as it greatly affects not only health but also the environment.

She reminded all schools must intensely incorporate "no-smoking education" in health education and science subjects to further educate the young on the disadvantages and dangers of tobacco use.

She ended education about tobacco use must start early to stop the growing trend.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 25, 2014.

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