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Changes in Tobacco Use Among Youths Aged 13–15 Years——Panama, 2002 and 2008

January 9, 2009 / Vol. 57 / No. 53


MMWR Highlights

Tobacco Use
  • From 2002 to 2008, prevalence of current cigarette smoking among students aged 13–15 years in Panama decreased—
    • 60% for boys (14.7% to 5.9%)
    • 75% for girls (11.1% to 2.8%)
    • 67% overall (from 13.2% to 4.3%)
  • The level of current cigarette smoking in 2008 did not differ by sex.
  • From 2002 to 2008, current use of other tobacco products decreased 41% overall (from 9.8% to 5.8%). In 2008 there was no difference by sex.
  • From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of never smokers who were susceptible to initiation of smoking decreased 28% overall (13.8% to 10.0%).
Tobacco Advertising & Promotion
  • From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of students who saw pro-tobacco advertisements in newspapers or magazines decreased 16% (from 67.4% to 56.7%).
  • The percentage of students who owned an item with a tobacco logo on it decreased 47% from 2002 to 2008 (from 12.0% to 6.4%).
  • The percentage of students reporting having been offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative did not change significantly over time (8.1% in 2002, 5.9% in 2008).
  • The percentage of students who saw antismoking mass media messages increased 7% from 2002 to 2008 (from 77.3% to 82.5%).
  • The percentage of current smokers who wanted to stop smoking did not change over time (65.9% in 2008).
  • The percentage of smokers who bought their cigarettes in a store but were not refused purchase because of their age did not change over time (56.6% in 2008).
Secondhand Smoke
  • From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of students who reported exposure to secondhand smoke decreased—
    • 32% at home (from 32.0% to 21.9%)
    • 22% in public places (from 51.8% to 40.3%)
    • 58% among students whose best friends smoke (from 14.5% to 6.1%)
  • Support among students aged 13–15 years for a ban on smoking in public places increased 12% from 2002 (80.5%) to 2008 (89.9%).
  • The percentage of students who were taught in school regarding the dangers of smoking did not change over time (65.8% in 2008).
Background
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that reductions in tobacco use most often are the consequence of measures such as—
    • Raising taxes on tobacco
    • Banning advertising promotion and sponsorship
    • Reducing exposure of the population to secondhand smoke
    • Informing the public regarding the dangers of tobacco
    • Establishing tobacco cessation programs
  • The Panamanian Ministry of Health has made tobacco control a priority and has established a national tobacco control agency, and many of the results in this report likely resulted from enactment of the 2005 Ministerial decree and Law No.13 in 2008.
    • The Ministerial decree—
      • Required health warnings on all tobacco product packages
      • Banned the sale of individual cigarettes
      • Prohibited use of vending machines for cigarettes
      • Banned pro-tobacco advertising on billboards
    • Law No. 13—
      • Banned pro-tobacco statements on cigarette packages
      • Required complete prohibition of any form of pro-tobacco advertising, promotion, or sponsorship of all kinds in all venues (including sports venues)
      • Prohibited tobacco consumption in all enclosed work environments
      • Required the integration of content on the health consequences of tobacco consumption into the curricula of general education and basic secondary education
      • Included policies and penalties for violations of the law and its regulations
  • Tobacco use is one of the major preventable causes of premature death and disease in the world.
    • WHO attributes more than 5 million deaths a year to tobacco use, and this total is expected to exceed 8 million a year by 2030.
    • A disproportionate share of the global tobacco burden falls on developing countries where 84% of the 1.3 billion current smokers live.
  • The Global Youth Tobacco Survey, part of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System initiated in 1999 by WHO, CDC, and the Canadian Public Health Association, is a school-based survey developed to monitor youth tobacco use, attitudes, and exposure to tobacco smoke and has been completed by over 2 million students in 163 countries.
 
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