Current Cigarette Smoking, Access, and Purchases from Retail Outlets Among Students Aged 13–15 Years — Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 45 Countries, 2013 and 2014

September 2, 2016 / Vol. 65 / No. 34

MMWR Introduction

Tobacco use is a leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, with nearly 6 million deaths caused by tobacco use worldwide every year. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use in most countries, and the majority of adult smokers initiate smoking before age 18 years. Limiting access to cigarettes among young people is an effective strategy to curb the tobacco epidemic by preventing smoking initiation and reducing the number of new smokers.

CDC used the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) data from 45 countries to examine the prevalence of current cigarette smoking, purchase of cigarettes from retail outlets, and type of cigarette purchases made among school students aged 13–15 years. Across all 45 countries, the median overall current cigarette smoking prevalence among students aged 13–15 years was 6.8% (range = 1.7% [Kazakhstan]–28.9% [Timor-Leste]); the median prevalence among boys was 9.7% (2.0% [Kazakhstan]–53.5% [Timor-Leste]), and among girls was 3.5% (0.0% [Bangladesh]–26.3% [Italy]). The proportion of current cigarette smokers aged 13–15 years who reported purchasing cigarettes from a retail outlet such as a store, street vendor, or kiosk during the past 30 days ranged from 14.9% [Latvia] to 95.1% [Montenegro], and in approximately half the countries, exceeded 50%.

Implementing evidence-based measures from FCTC Article 16, in conjunction with evidence-based strategies outlined in WHO’s MPOWER package, are critical to reducing the estimated 1 billion tobacco-related deaths projected worldwide this century.

MMWR Highlights

  • In the WHO African Region, prevalence ranged from 2.3% in Mozambique to 11.2% in Zimbabwe.
  • In the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, prevalence ranged from 3.3% in Pakistan to 11.4% in Jordan.
  • In the WHO European Region, prevalence ranged from 1.7% in Kazakhstan to 23.4% in Italy.
  • In the WHO Americas Region, prevalence ranged from 3.8% in the Bahamas to 7.8% in Belize.
  • In the WHO South East Asia Region, prevalence ranged from 2.1% in Bangladesh to 28.9% in Timor-Leste.
  • In the WHO Western Pacific Region, prevalence ranged from 2.5% in Vietnam to 11.0% in the Northern Mariana Islands.