The number of girls smoking cigarettes in Qatar has almost doubled within five years, a new survey revealed.
Number of girls smoking cigarettes has increased from 2.3 percent in 2007 to 4.7 percent in 2013, according to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), results of which was released by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) yesterday.
GYTS, a component of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), is a global standard for systematically monitoring youth tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and tracking key tobacco control indicators.
In Qatar, GYTS was conducted in 2013 by the SCH and Supreme Education Council (SEC). A total of 2,109 students studying in grades between seven and nine participate in the survey, of which 1,716 were aged from 13 years to 15 years.
It has found that the overall prevalence of tobacco use among girls is 8.8 percent. It includes 6.2 percent who smoke tobacco and 3.2 percent use smokeless tobacco.
However, smoking habit among girls is less in Qatar compared to other countries, said Dr Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad Al Thani, Director of Public Health.
“Prevalence of smoking among girls is low in Qatar compared to other countries in the world. However, we are working on to find why the number of females smoking is increasing,” he said.
The GYTS questioner to students include questions on tobacco use (smoking and smokeless), cessation, secondhand smoke (SHS), pro- and anti-tobacco media and advertising, access and availability to obtain tobacco products, and knowledge and attitudes regarding tobacco.
GYTS also has found that tobacco use taken as a whole among boys and girls is 15.7 percent. And overall 22.8 percent boys use tobacco products.
“Prevalence of tobacco use in the family, among friends, and easy availability of tobacco products are main reasons for many young people getting the habit,” said Dr Al Thani.
“We are working on more awareness programmes at schools to prevent tobacco use among young people,” he said.
According to GYTS 54.6 percent students buy cigarettes from store, shop or cafeteria. Among them 56 percent were not prevented by anyone from buying cigarettes, because for their age.
Also 24.2 percent students in Qatar were exposed to tobacco smoke at home, and 47.9 percent are exposed tobacco smoke inside enclosed public places.
However, every six in ten current young smokers have tried to stop smoking within 12 months. Almost fifty percent of students have seen anti tobacco messages in the media. Every two in ten students own something with tobacco brand logo on it.
About the knowledge and attitudes among students the survey says that 53.8 percent definitely thought secondhand smoke is harmful to them and 60.6 are in favour of banning smoking inside enclosed public places.
DOHA: First specific data released on shisha smokers in Qatar has revealed that overall 3.4 percent has the habit.
The prevalence of shisha smoking among men was 4.9 percent compared to 1.6 women, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) released yesterday.
Overall, 85 percent men smoke shisha in a café, while almost 63 percent smoke at home. Also ten percent of shisha smokers started the habit before the age of 18 years.
Among Qatari men, the shisha smoking prevalence was 5.3 percent compared to 4.8 percent non Qatari men. Only 0.4 percent Qatari women smoke shisha, but 2.4 percent non-Qatari women have the habit.
GATS is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and tracking key tobacco control indicators.
In Qatar, GATS was conducted a household survey in 2013 by the Supreme Council of Health in collaboration with Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. A total of 8,571 households were sampled, including some at the labour camps.
It shows that only some 12 percent (51,000) of those who aged 15 and above in Qatar smoke. Among them 20.2 percent are men and 3.1 percent are women. Also 0.7 percent (3,000) use smokeless tobacco.
About 38.2 percent of smokers have made a quit attempt within 12 months. 12 percent of adults were exposed to tobacco smoke at work place, 16.8 percent were exposed to tobacco smoke at home and another 25.9 percent at restaurants.
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