27 September 2023

Young smokers’ habits alarming

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The ACT Health Directorate marked World No Tobacco Day last Friday (31 May) by pointing the finger at the ACT’s teenage girls who are bucking the Territory trend among secondary students and continuing to smoke.

Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman said this was a worrying statistic and should raise alarm bells.

“According to the latest ACT Health report, Tobacco Use: Secondary Students, the difference in ‘ever smoking’ between boys and girls aged 16-to-17 years of age in the ACT is stark — 23 per cent for boys compared to 35 per cent for girls,” Dr Coleman said.

“On the question of ‘having smoked in the last year, last month and last week’, older girls consistently reported higher levels of smoking than older boys across all of those categories.”

She said the data suggested that anti-tobacco initiatives needed to be ramped up to target girls in particular.

“Another major concern is the insidious marketing of e-cigarettes, which are currently not regulated under Federal tobacco advertising and plain packaging legislation,” Dr Coleman said.

“The horse has bolted on these products touted as ‘nicotine-free’. In fact, many of these e-products contain unlabelled nicotine.”

She said that what was really disturbing was how the products were clearly targeting young people with packaging that was attractive to the teenage market in particular.

She said the vast majority of young people in Canberra were turning away from tobacco, hearing the message that smoking can kill.

A factsheet on the health impacts of e-cigarettes for children, young people and adults is available at this PS News link.

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