Trinadad and Tabago - school children smoking..

June 15, 2009 - Health Minister Jerry Narace said on Friday that Trinadad and Tabago had the fourth highest prevalence of smoking in the region among school children between the ages of 13 and 15 years.

Narace expressed concern over the high prevalence of cigarette smoking among the nation's youths in an address at the World No Tobacco Day Awards Ceremony hosted at the Ministry of Health's head office in Port of Spain. An award was presented to the Trinidad and Tobago National Tobacco Control Committee by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) in recognition of its work in the fight against smoking.

Narace said a 2006 study administered by the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme (NADAPP), in collaboration with the Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission, that targeted national secondary schools and which covered 56 schools with a representative sample of approximately 4,000 pupils, showed that "more than one-quarter of all students surveyed reported having tried cigarette smoking".

"The annual prevalence was 11.4 per cent and the current use prevalence was a 5.6 per cent," which meant about one in every 18 students were currently smoking," Narace said. He said, according to the report, "not many students felt that smoking cigarettes sometimes was very harmful".

The report also showed that the "favorite location where cigarettes are most often smoked was surprisingly at home. Moreover most students overall indicated that cigarettes were first used at home (29.7 per cent). This was followed by "at a party" (11.4 per cent), "on the block " (10.4 per cent) or at some other location".

Narace warned of the dangers of smoking, pointing out that it could have devastating effects on one's health and caused a range of diseases. He said the Ministry of Health had drafted the Tobacco Control Bill which had been sent for a second reading in Parliament. Narace added the bill had been amended by a Joint Select Committee and would be reintroduced in the Parliament shortly, pending approval from the Cabinet.

Reference: Narace: More children smoking, Rohandra John, 6/15/2009.

Trinadad Tobago has ratified (August 2004) the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.