Anti-smoking Policies Effects on Teenagers in Taiwan


According to a new study, since 2009 fewer teenagers are smoking in Taiwan. 2009 is the year when Taiwan implemented strict anti-smoking policies including cigarette advertising bans. However, researchers are not satisfied with these numbers as they expected more teenagers to refuse from smoking.

Song-Lih Huang, lead researcher of National Yang Ming University in Taipei, said that the tobacco restrictions worked for beginners but had a little effect on regular smokers.

The World Health Organization promotes such measures as advertising bans, price increases,  smoke-free policies and graphic warning images in order to limit tobacco use. Such policies made part of an anti-smoking law adopted in Taiwan in 2009.

Promotions of cigarettes, such as gifts and coupons, were also banned. All secondary schools became smoke-free. Huang said that in spite of all that serois approach, the policies seemed to have limited success.

The scientists analyzed data from surveys of 100,000 students aged from 13 to 15 in Taiwan before and after the implementation of anti-smoking policy.

The number of students who smoked too much cigarettes decreased from 27% in 2004 to 23% in 2011. The number of smokers who tried their first cigarette before age 10 also decreased from 38% in 2004 to 28% in 2011.

Huang was disappointed with the results, but other researchers said the numbers show a success. The results of the study are published in the journal Addiction,

Although smoking  among adults in Taiwan had reduced every year from 2004 to 2011, smoking among teenagers bagan to decrease from 2010. The results show that the smoke-free policies have the strongest effect on teenagers in rural areas.”It is clear that for teenagers in cities, the trend was still going up,” Huang said.

For children in big cities, the number of boys who were current smokers increased from 5 to 10%, and girls remain 2% from 2004 to 2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in the USA, in 2011, 4% of middle school students and 18% of high school students were current smokers.

Because the Taiwan research noted a drop in the number of children reporting smoking less than one cigarette a day or smoking cigarettes that someone else had bought, Huang with his peers consider the decrease of number of teenagers smoking cigarettes was primarily among children in the earliest stages of trying tobacco.

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