Adolescents’ smoking rates rising

10 Nov 2009

Tobacco use among adolescent girls and water pipe use amongst teenagers may be rising, according to data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS).

The results were recently published in Global Health Promotion, which reviewed GYTS data between 1999 and 2008.

GYTS is a school based survey that collects data from students aged 13-15 years. It focuses on changes in youth tobacco use using data from 100 geographically defined areas that have conducted repeat surveys. These areas are located in countries in the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions. More than half a million students between the ages of 13 and 15 participated.

Key findings from the study were:

  • A majority of areas (61) reported no change in cigarette prevalence among youth.
  • Only 27 areas reported a decrease in cigarette prevalence while 10 areas reported an increase.
  • Thirty four sites reported an increase in other tobacco use—this appeared to be due to an increase in water pipe use.
  • Tobacco use among adolescent girls may be increasing.

The study encourages countries to implement comprehensive tobacco control policies to decrease tobacco use among smokers and deter youth from starting to smoke.

Comprehensive policies include:

  • A 100% smoke-free ban.
  • A complete ban on tobacco marketing.
  •  Large, graphic warning labels on tobacco packages.
  • High tobacco taxes to increase tobacco prices.

More information

Download report
More information about the GYTS
What are the six WHO regions?

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