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January 25th, 2008:

Global Youth Tobacco Surveillance

Global Youth Tobacco Surveillance, 2000–2007

Problem: Tobacco use is a major contributor to deaths from chronic diseases. The findings from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) suggest that the estimate of a doubling of deaths from smoking (from 5 million per year to approximately 10 million per year by 2020) might be an underestimate because of the increase in smoking among young girls compared with adult females, the high susceptibility of smoking among never smokers, high levels of exposure to secondhand smoke, and protobacco indirect advertising.

Reporting Period Covered: This report includes GYTS data collected during 2000–2007 from 140 World Health Organization (WHO) member states, six territories (American Samoa, British Virgin Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), two geographic regions (Gaza Strip and West Bank), one United Nations administered province (Kosovo), one special administrative region (Macau), and one Commonwealth (Northern Mariana Islands). For countries that have repeated GYTS, only the most recent data are included. For countries with multiple survey sites, only data from the capital or largest city are presented.

Description of System: GYTS is a school-based survey of a defined geographic site that can be a country, a province, a city, or any other geographic entity. GYTS uses a standardized methodology for constructing sampling frames, selecting schools and classes, preparing questionnaires, conducting field procedures, and processing data. GYTS standard sampling methodology uses a two-stage cluster sample design that produces samples of students in grades associated with students aged 13–15 years. Each sampling frame includes all schools (usually public and private) in a geographically defined area containing any of the identified grades. In the first stage, the probability of schools being selected is proportional to the number of students enrolled in the specified grades. In the second sampling stage, classes within the selected schools are selected randomly. All students in selected classes attending school the day the survey is administered are eligible to participate. Student participation is voluntary and anonymous using self-administered data collection procedures. The GYTS sample design produces independent, cross-sectional estimates that are representative of each site.

Results: The findings in this report indicate that the level of cigarette smoking between boys and girls is similar in many sites; the prevalence of cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products is similar; and susceptibility to initiate smoking among never smokers is similar among boys and girls and is higher than cigarette smoking in the majority of sites. Approximately half of the students reported that they were exposed to secondhand smoke in public places during the week preceding the survey. Approximately eight in 10 favor a ban on smoking in public places. Approximately two in 10 students own an object with a cigarette brand logo on it, and one in 10 students have been offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative. Approximately seven in 10 students who smoke reported that they wanted to stop smoking. Approximately seven in 10 students who smoked were not refused purchase of cigarettes from a store during the month preceding the survey. Finally, approximately six in 10 students reported having been taught in school about the harmful effects of smoking during the year preceding the survey.

Interpretation: The findings in this report suggest that interventions that decrease tobacco use among youth (e.g., increasing excise taxes, media campaigns, school programs in conjunction with community interventions, and community interventions that decrease minors’ access to tobacco) must be broad-based, focused on boys and girls, and have components directed toward prevention and cessation. If effective programs are not developed and implemented soon, future morbidity and mortality attributed to tobacco probably will increase.

Public Health Action: The synergy between countries in passing tobacco-control laws, regulations, or decrees; ratifying the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; and conducting GYTS offers a unique opportunity to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive tobacco-control policy that can be helpful to each country. The challenge for each country is to develop, implement, and evaluate a tobacco-control program and make changes where necessary.

View the full report here:  Global Youth Tobacco Surveillance

Poles Buy Less Cigarettes, Legally

25.01.2008 13:28

The sale of tobacco dropped to 69.8 billion cigarettes in Poland in 2007, i.e. 2.5 billion less than in the previous year, the National Association of Tobacco Industry has revealed.

It looks as if Polish smokers are beginning to turn away from cigarettes, at least those purchased legally.

An increase in the excise duty that has contributed to a significant rise in tobacco prices and antismoking campaigns in the Polish media seem to be the main reasons for the change of attitudes among 9 million habitual smokers in Poland.

By 2009, tobacco prices in Poland will go even further up when the country will have to be fully compliant with the EU requirements regarding excise duty on tobacco (at least 64 EUR per 1000 cigarettes).

The news is bad for tobacco manufacturers in Poland. In 2006, out of seven tobacco producers only 2 were profitable, according to Puls Biznesu.

The Polish State Treasury is one of few winners in the situation. In spite of the sharp drop in tobacco sales, in the 11 months of 2007, the budget recognized 11.8 billion zlotys in revenues compared with 10.4 billion in the previous year. In 2008, the profit is expected to grow by additional 2.3 billion zlotys.

Puls Biznesu warns that the high tobacco prices will result in an increased number of cigarettes smuggled to and sold illegally in Poland. Estimates show that the share of smuggled cigarettes in the total national tobacco consumption has reached 30 per cent. In 2007, the Polish Customs seized more than 503 million illegal cigarettes, mainly on the eastern border.