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Survey on teenage smoking

ByAbeyaAl Bakry

Abu Dhabi

from Gulf News January 2002

Some 5,897 pupils from 136 schools took part in a survey on smoking carried out by the Ministry of Health to find out what   encouraged   smoking among youngsters. Teenagers in the age group of 13 to 15 were the object of the study, said Dr. Mariam Al Matroushi, Director of the Central School Health Administration at the Ministry of Health in the UAE. The Global Youth Tobacco Survey was carried out in  nearly 70 other countries and was designed by the World Health Organisation, she said. In the UAE, she said, it was called the National Youth Tobacco Survey. "The aim of the project is to know how much tobacco is used among youth and. understand youth attitudes and knowledge about smoking dangers."

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey report states that the GYTS will find out the level of  tobacco used among children and  teenagers, estimate  when children begin smoking, reasons why they begin smoking, and factors that may change their attitudes to smoking. The information gathered will be used in prevention programmes.

The  Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, World Health Organisation, Executive Office of the Health Ministers of the GCC countries and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. have co-sponsored the survey. The research is divided into five sections devoted to the age, the amount of tobacco used, the background information possessed by the students, opinion collection about smoking and tobacco use, school policies towards smokers, and information given in classes about smoking.

It was designed by the World Health Organisation and Centre for Disease Control in America to track tobacco use among young people across countries using a standard method to assess the information that is given by teenagers. The UAE is one of 14 countries in    the    World    Health Organisation  Eastern Mediterranean Region, which comprises   Bahrain,   Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and Kuwait.A special committee was formed, the Technical Committee for the National Survey, consisting of researchers from the Health Education Department in the Ministry of Health, the Statistics Department, and the Ministry "of Education Research Department to train field researchers in data collection and writing a final report.

The     World  Health Organisation will be analysing the data received to provide recommendations for an anti-smoking prevention programme. The World Health Organisation outlined a treaty, the Framework Convention For Tobacco Control (FCTC) which is to be signed by  all member countries to develop a global smoking prevention pro­gramme.


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