Call for smoke-free homes

| October 30, 2017

In the UAE, 8.5 percent of those 12 to 14 years of age are smokers, according to a story in The National citing UAE University figures.

The story did not say how smokers were defined.

A study by the university that was presented at the International Society of Addiction Medicine conference in Abu Dhabi on Friday, was said to have shown that children in the UAE were ‘inhaling their first hit of tobacco aged nine or younger’.

This had prompted calls for households to become smoke-free, though it wasn’t clear from the story who was making these calls.

“We should focus on tobacco use at a young age,” said Dr. Syed Shah, an associate professor at the university’s Institute of Public Health. “Otherwise it will be too late.”

His study looked at 1,186 Arab pupils between the ages of 12 and 18, of which 51.4 percent were Emirati. More than a fifth of boys smoked shisha and 21.9 percent smoked cigarettes.

Meanwhile, a study of female students at Zayed University by the university found similar results in respect of underage smoking. In the anonymous survey, a ‘significant number’ of the 552 respondents were said to have tried their first cigarette or shisha at age nine or younger.

“There is a high prevalence now for shisha smoking and I think the most alarming aspect of this is the early onset,” said Dr. Heba Barazi, an assistant professor at Zayed University’s College of Natural and Health Sciences.

This early onset was consistent with the findings of a World Health Organization survey that was done between 13 and 15 years ago, she said. In other words, little had changed. “In ten years they knew this and nothing has been done about that,” she added.

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Category: Breaking News, OTP, People, Regulation

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