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Number of teen smokers rises

The number of teenage smokers has increased, according to the results of the 2015 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) which was released on Thursday by the Department of Health (DoH).

“Sixteen percent of the respondents currently use any tobacco product – smoked tobacco and/or smokeless tobacco,” the 2015 GYTS disclosed.

The number is higher than the 13.7 percent tobacco prevalence among the youth in 2011.

The survey also shows that the number of cigarette smokers in the country, aged 13 to 15, also went up to 12 percent in the last four years.

“One in ten of the students are current cigarette smokers and 0.7 percent of them are frequent cigarette smokers or have smoked cigarettes on 20 or more days in the past 30 days,” the 2015 GYTS also revealed. Likewise, such is higher than the number of cigarette smokers in the 2011 GYTS, which was at 8.9 percent.

With the rise in the number of teen smokers, the DoH called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to institutionalize tobacco control and prevention in school curriculum.

“Strengthen efforts to encourage non-smoking behavior among youth by re-integrating values formation in the education curriculum,” said the DoH.

The health department also urged for the strict implementation of the DepEd memorandum banning smoking in school premises. (Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce)