Survey reveals steep increase in kids’ smoking

| 19/05/2011

(CNS): Despite trends in the developed world of a reduction in tobacco consumption by adults, teens are smoking more and that seems to be the case here in Cayman. According to the results of the latest student survey by the NDC, among grade 7-12 students the number of younfg people admitting to smoking has doubled. 14.4% of kids said that they had smoked a cigarette sometime in the year before the survey compared to less than 7% of the students that admitting smoking tobacco in the NDC’s 2006 survey. Almost 14% of Year 12 students admitted smoking in the last month. Despite the well documented dangers of smoking, 9% of kids said they did not think smoking one pack or more a day posed any risk. 

The Cayman Islands Students Drug Use Survey (CISDUS) also indicated that despite the introduction of the tobacco law, which included a ban on promotion of cigarettes, vending machines, split packet sales, restrictions on where people can smoke and which made it illegal for people to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18, kids found getting hold of cigarettes very easy. 

Less than half the children surveyed (46.4%) reported that they believed smoking one or more packs of cigarettes did pose a great risk to their health. Among the 743 students that reported ever smoking cigarettes, the average age of first use was 12 years old but almost a third of the children who were smoking said they had their first “whole” cigarette before they reached the age of 11 years old.

Although the World Health Organisation states that smoking is increasing in teens around the world, the findings in the Cayman survey among Year 12 students shows a greater number of smokers than their Canadian peers. Over 24% of Caymanian 17 and 18 year olds are smoking, while in Canada this figure is less than 20%. In comparison to a survey in Barbados, Cayman kids are ‘out-smoking’ them, as only 7.6% of 12th graders admitted smoking in that Caribbean island.

Although the survey found little difference between the genders in 2010 when it came to smoking habits, the rate of smoking among girls has increased even more than boys. In 2006 only 5.7% of female students had said they smoked but this year the figure increased to 14.8%, slightly higherthan the rate among males of 14.2%. Grade 11 students admitted to being the heaviest smokers with more than 26% of those teens saying they smoked.

The district with the highest rate of smoking was Cayman Brac, while George Town was revealed to have the lowest percentage of student smokers.

According to the WHO, young adults are the most likely age group to smoke as smoking rates decrease as people get older. The global health organization said that globally one in five teens aged 13 to 15 smokes and as many as 100,000 children worldwide start smoking every day. The WHO also states that there is evidence to show that around 50% of those who start smoking in adolescent years go on to smoke for 15 to 20 years. Peer-reviewed studies show teenagers are heavily influenced by tobacco advertising.

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Category: Health

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it's time for the goverment to make smoking a little less attractive by doubling the price of cigarettes. Somewhere near the price lof smokes in countries like Canada and the UK. They sure could use the revenue and at the same time maybe improve the health of folks on the island.

  2. 3RD CLASS CITIZEN says:

    The former Minister of health refused to do anything about this situation on his watch because Kirt, Edna and Arden all smoked. They all were setting a bad example for our kids. We would have been further ahead if Anthony Eden had done his job. One of these days people will realize that just because a man is nice doesn't mean he has leadership abilities and Eden did not.

  3. Anonymous says:

    ..This forum's limited comments  shows a pitiful lack of concern&comment on the most common gateway drug- and the Biggest killer of people since love was invented!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Not exactly sure where you get your facts, annonymous. Marijuana smoke is inhaled and held deeply into the lungs..3x as deeply inhaled. Anything that is inhaled into the lungs is not good for them causing bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia and the cancers that go along with smoking etc. It is also known that alot of dealers put extra "stuff" into a joint (alot of times to give you less marijuana and them a better profit) and who knows what this may be, so your all natural joint is not so natural unless you know exactly what is in it. It is also known that marijuana effects the reproductive system so if you are planning on reproducing…stop smoking the marijuana. If you are already pregnant and you are smoking marijuana….it harms the fetus. Marijuana is not harmless. Marijuana smokers also lose motivation and that hurts them in their studies. So although marijuana may not have caused a single death (I am not sure I believe those stats), it does cause harm to your body.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Fun Fact of the day….Tobacco kills over 400,000 americans in the US every year (this is more than alcohol, and aids combined). Another fun fact, tobacco is grown with radioactive fertilizers and is subsidized by the government. Another fact, marijuana alone hasn't caused a single death, thats right, not a SINGLE death can be attributed to marijuana use alone….so if you are going to smoke, put down the radioactive cancer sticks. smoke a joint…get lifted…listen to some bob marley…only bad thing that could happen is you might get a bit hungry and sleepy LOL….

    • Just Sayin' says:

      ….and imagine what unemployment would be like if people didn't smoke….