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Tobacco Use Among Students Aged 13–15 Years—Kurdistan Region, Iraq, 2005

May 26, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. 20

MMWR Highlights

  • Approximately 20% of Kurdistan students aged 13–15 years, currently used any tobacco product, with the rate for males (29%) significantly higher than that for females (10%).
  • Male students (21%) were significantly more likely to smoke cigarettes than female students (2%), but there was no significant difference among male students’ (14%) and female students’ (9 percent) use of tobacco products other than cigarettes (primarily Shisha — flavored tobacco smoked in hookah pipes).
  • An estimated 12% of Kurdistan students aged 13–15 years were current cigarette smokers.
  • More than 11% of Kurdistan students were current users of a tobacco product other than cigarettes.
  • Very few students were using both cigarettes and other tobacco products at the same time.
  • More than 27% of Kurdistan students had ever smoked cigarettes. Boys (42%) were significantly more likely than girls (11%) to have ever smoked.
  • The proportion of any female never smokers likely to initiate smoking (11%) was significantly higher than the current female student smoking rate (2%).
  • While tobacco control efforts in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq face a number of challenges, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has established a tobacco control unit making tobacco control a priority among healthcare workers and youth. Kurdistan law bans smoking in all government buildings, including schools and administrative office buildings of the MOH and Ministry of Education.
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