THE TOP 3 DRUGS/ TOBACCO
UN, The World Youth Report 2003,
Tobacco is often the first substance used by children and youth…
- 14% of people aged 13-15 throughout the world smokes cigarettes and 25% of them started this habit before the age of 10;
- an average of 37% of high school students (aged 15-16) in 30 European countries had smoked at least one cigarette in the past 30 days*. The average incorporated widely disparate national rates ranging from 16% in Cyprus to 67% in Greenland. Smoking among young people in Europe is increasing, even when at the same time tobacco use among adults in fact is decreasing in many EU countries. Especially alarming is, that the increase is most marked among young girls. In most countries boys are more likely than girls to smoke, though the reverse is true in a number of countries in Europe including Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Norway and the UK.
- 29% of young people (aged 15-16) in Eastern Europe smoke compared to 26% in western European countries. Gender differences in smoking rates are significantly less important among young people compared to those between adults in the region. 29% of 15-16-year-old boys and 25% of girls of the same age smoke. Among adults the corresponding figures are 35% for men and 22% for women;
- tobacco use in North America, already lower than in Europe, has continued to decline significantly since the mid-1990s. In Ontario, Canada, the rate of past-year tobacco use by secondary school students fell from 29.2 to 23.6% between 1999 and 2001, and past-month use among 15-16-year-old students in the United States fell by 30% between 1997 and 2001;
- in Africa smoking prevalence is increasing dramatically in most countries both among the adult population and among young people. The current youth smoking rate in e.g. Burkina Faso is 37%, in Ghana and Nigeria 17%, in South Africa 24% and in Zimbabwe 58%. The tobacco marketing in Africa is massive and many children start smoking when as young as 8-9 years old;
- in Latin America smoking prevalence among young people varies very much. The highest prevalence rate can be found in Santiago, Chile, 39%, whereas the lowest current smoking rate is in Antigua and Barbuda, 14%;
- in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region the smoking prevalence among young people is generally quite low, with an exception for Lebanon, were the prevalence for 15-19-year-olds reaches 34%.
- In the WHO Western Pacific region the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) shows alarmingly high smoking rates in e.g. Palau were 59% of 13-15-year-olds are current smokers and in the Northern Marianas were the smoking rate among young people is 62%.
- Data from Chongqing, China reveals that 39% of the school children that are currently using tobacco smoked their first cigarette before the age of 10.
What are the effects?
- According to the World Health Report 2002, among industrialised countries where smoking has been common, smoking is estimated to cause over 90% of lung cancer in men and about 70% of lung cancer among women. In addition, in these countries, the attributable fractions are 56-80% for chronic respiratory disease and 22% for cardiovascular disease.
- Worldwide, it is estimated that tobacco causes about 8.8% of deaths (4.9 million) and 4.1% of DALYs** (59.1 million). Unless current trends are not reversed, that figure is expected to rise to 10 million deaths per year by the 2020s or early 2030s, with 70% of those deaths occurring in developing countries.
* Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and other Drugs, The 1999 ESPA Report.
** Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY): the sum of years of potential life lost due to prematuremortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability.