Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Karen Cummings has justified restricting smoking in the home, quoting a recent survey which revealed that a significant number of children are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke at home.
The findings of a school-based survey which was conducted in 2015 were revealed on Thursday at the Marriott Hotel amid concerns over the new anti-tobacco legislation. Dr. Cummings used the findings of the report to once again defend the Tobacco Control Bill which has been met with criticisms from major distributor Demtoco and the Parliamentary Opposition.
“When we were presenting the Tobacco Bill, one of my colleagues was asking me ‘oh my, even in the home you wanna ban smoking?’ but then he saw the details here … so it’s very important that you need to understand that we need to ban smoking in closed spaces and especially in the home,” she stated.
The Global Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 14.8% of students interviewed have used tobacco products.
The survey was conducted in 25 secondary schools and 1697 students aged 13 to 15 responded.
The survey further revealed that 7 in 10 current smokers tried to stop smoking in the past 12 months and that 54.5% of current smokers obtain cigarettes by buying them from a store, street vendor or a kiosk.
It also highlighted that among the current cigarette smokers who purchased the product, 48.9% were not prevented from buying them because of their age.
Additionally, the document revealed that more than 4 in 10 students noticed anti-tobacco messages in the media while 3 in 10 noticed tobacco advertisements or promotions when visiting points of sale.
PAHO/WHO Country Representative DrAdu Krow noted that while the survey is about numbers, the relevant authorities should use the data to determine and identify certain trends. The survey is a component of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System and is a global approach to systematically monitor youth tobacco use.