A 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) conducted among junior high school (JHS) pupils aged between 13 and 15 has revealed that 1.3% of pupils currently smoked shisha.
It is made up of 1.7% of girls and 0.4% of boys.
5,116 Respondents aged 13 – 15 years took the survey
A total of 5,664 eligible pupils in Junior High School 1 – 3 completed the survey, of which 5,116 were aged 13 to 15 years. The overall response rate was 93.8%.
Nicotine in shisha 4 times higher
Dr Kyei-Faried, Head of Disease Control and Prevention Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), described the development as worrying, given that the highly addictive substance called nicotine in shisha is four times higher than that of normal tobacco. This makes shisha more addictive.
Shisha laced with sweet flavours
Speaking to The Finder ahead of World No Tobacco Day, on the theme ‘Tobacco and Lung Health’, which falls today, he said the tobacco industry has added sweet flavours to shisha to make it more attractive.
Shisha laced with menthol
What is even more dangerous is that, he said, the tobacco industry has put menthol into shisha to make it taste sweet.
8.9% of JHS pupils use tobacco products
According to the report, 8.9% of pupils, made up of 8.9% of boys and 8.2% of girls, currently use at least a tobacco product.
5.3% of girls smoke tobacco
Similarly, 6.5% of pupils, comprising 7% of boys and 5.3% of girls, currently smoke tobacco.
The report noted that cigarette smoking among teenagers between 13 and 15 years dropped from 4.2% some 10 years ago to 2.8% in 2017.
2.8% smoke cigarettes
Currently, 2.8% of JHS pupils, made up of 3.2% of boys and 2.3% of girls, smoke cigarettes.
3.1% use smokeless tobacco
The 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that 3.1% of pupils, made up of 2.5% of boys and 3.7% of girls, currently use smokeless tobacco.
4.9% of JHS pupils use electronic cigarettes
When it comes to the use of electronic cigarettes, 4.9% of pupils, comprising 4.9% of boys and 5% of girls, currently use it.
59.6% tried to stop smoking
According to the report, almost six in 10, representing 59.6%, of current JHS pupils who smoke tobacco tried to stop smoking in the past 12 months.
63.2% wants to stop smoking now
The report showed that more than six in 10, representing 63.2%, of current JHS pupils who smoke tobacco wanted to stop smoking now.
23.1% exposed to second-hand smoke
A disturbing trend indicates that 23.1% of pupils were exposed to tobacco smoke at home.
39.3% exposed to tobacco smoke inside enclosed public places
The 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that 39.3% of pupils were exposed to tobacco smoke inside enclosed public places.
71.3% bought cigarettes from a store, shop, street vendor, or kiosk
On access and availability, 71.3% of current JHS pupils who smoke tobacco bought cigarettes from a store, shop, street vendor, or kiosk.
54.9% were not prevented from buying them because of their age
Among current JHS cigarette smokers who tried to buy cigarettes, the report said, 54.9% were not prevented from buying them because of their age.
48.3% noticed anti-tobacco messages in the media
It showed that almost five in 10, representing 48.3%, of JHS pupils noticed anti-tobacco messages in the media.
25.4% pupils noticed tobacco advertisements when visiting points of sale
The 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that almost three in 10, representing 25.4%, of JHS pupils noticed tobacco advertisements or promotions when visiting points of sale.
According to the report, almost one in 10, constituting 9.8% of JHS pupils who smoke tobacco had something with a tobacco brand logo on it.
53.7% thought other people’s tobacco smoking is harmful to them
On knowledge and attitudes, 53.7% of pupils definitely thought other people’s tobacco smoking is harmful to them.
62.3% wants smoking inside enclosed public places
The findings stated that 62.3% of pupils favoured prohibiting smoking inside enclosed public places.
Dr Kyei-Faried attributed the drop in smoking from 4.2% some 10 years ago to 2.8% in 2017 to some measures taken by the Government of Ghana.
He cited the passage of the Tobacco Control Measures of the Public Health Act of 2012 (Act 851) and Tobacco Control Regulations of 2016 (LI 2247), which mandated the tobacco industries to implement pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packages in Ghana.
The introduction of pictorial warnings on tobacco products was highly essential to reaching smokers with low education and literacy, helping to reduce disparities in health knowledge.
The health warnings on tobacco packages constituted an important method of informing and educating the public about the harms of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
The Head of Disease Control and Prevention Department of GHS also mentioned the control of illicit trade in tobacco products as another vital step.
Dr Kyei-Faried also identified the ban imposed on advertisement, promotion and sponsorship by leadership by the Ministry of Health, as well as 175% ad valorem tax, to increase the price of tobacco to make it not affordable to the poor as other critical measures.
He described tobacco as dangerous since it contains an addictive substance called nicotine.
He explained that tobacco worsens the condition of tuberculosis patients, causes chronic lung diseases, affects asthma patients, as well as increases the risk of contracting lung cancer 20 times than non-smokers.
GYTS monitor tobacco use and prevention, protect people from tobacco smoke, offer help to quit tobacco, warn about the dangers of tobacco, enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as well as raise taxes on tobacco.
GYTS, a component of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), is a global standard for systematically monitoring youth tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and tracking key tobacco control indicators.
GYTS is a cross-sectional, nationally representative school-based survey of students in grades associated with ages 13 to 15 years.
GYTS uses a standard core questionnaire, sample design, and data collection protocol.
It assists countries in fulfilling their obligations under the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to generate comparable data within and across countries.
WHO has developed MPOWER, a technical package of selected demand reduction measures contained in the WHO FCTC.
Source: The Finder