Current Tobacco Smoking and Desire to Quit Tobacco Smoking among Students Aged 13–15 Years — Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 61 Countries, 2012 to 2015

May 26, 2017 / Vol. 66 / No. 20

MMWR Introduction

Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, resulting in nearly 6 million deaths each year. Smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, are the most common form of tobacco consumed worldwide, and most tobacco smokers begin smoking during adolescence. The health benefits of quitting are greater for people who stop smoking at earlier ages; however, quitting smoking at any age has health benefits.

CDC used the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) data from 61 countries across the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions to examine the prevalence of current tobacco smoking and desire to quit smoking among students aged 13–15 years.

WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO and developed in response to the tobacco epidemic, includes evidence-based measures that have the potential to reduce youth tobacco use. To assist with implementation of FCTC, countries can implement WHO’s MPOWER package. MPOWER is a set of evidence-based interventions intended to reduce tobacco use, including: Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; Protecting people from tobacco smoke; Offering help to quit tobacco use; Warning about the dangers of tobacco use; Enforcing bans on tobacco sponsorship, promotion, and advertising; and Raising taxes on tobacco. When implemented as part of a comprehensive approach, these strategies can help reduce youth tobacco use.

MMWR Highlights

Current tobacco smoking among students aged 13-15 years – 61 countries, GYTS, 2012-2015

  • Across all countries, current tobacco smoking prevalence ranged from 1.7% in Sri Lanka to 35.0% in Timor-Leste, with a median prevalence of 10.7%.
  • Across all countries, current tobacco smoking prevalence among boys ranged from 2.9% in Tajikistan to 61.4% in Timor-Leste, with a median prevalence of 14.6%.
  • Across all countries, current tobacco smoking among girls ranged from 1.6% in Tajikistan to 29.0% in Bulgaria, with a median prevalence of 7.5%.

Desire to quit smoking among students aged 13-15 — 51 countries, GYTS, 2012-2015

  • Among the 51 countries in which the desire to quit was assessed among current tobacco smokers, the proportion of students who desired to quit ranged from 32.1% in Uruguay to 90.2% in the Philippines.
  • In the WHO African Region, the proportions ranged from 62.2% in the Seychelles to 86.3% in Kenya.
  • In the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, the proportions ranged from 49.0% in the United Arab Emirates to 75.8% in Yemen.
  • In the WHO European Region, the proportions ranged from 43.5% in Italy to 83.1% in Moldova.
  • In the WHO Americas Region, the proportions ranged from 32.1% in Uruguay to 70.1% in Guyana.
  • In the WHO South-East Asia Region, the proportions ranged from 67.8% in Timor-Leste to 88.2% in Indonesia.
  • In the WHO Western Pacific Region, the proportions ranged from 66.9% in Korea to 90.2% in the Philippines.