15 students under the age of 18 were caught smoking in public places this year and were brought to undergo a compulsory treatment at a smoking cessation clinic.
This fact was revealed during the recent briefing on the dangerous effects of smoking for Department of Youth and Sports officers, who generally deal with youth and young athletes.
The study revealed that students who smoke are 3 times more likely to consume alcohol, 8 times more likely to smoke marijuana and, 22 times more likely to misuse cocaine, according to Dk Nurzafiftah Pg Asmadi a senior nurse at the Health Promotion Centre.
It is prohibited for people under the age of 18 to smoke in Brunei as the Ministry of Health (MoH) adopted a smoking ban in public places, such as restaurants, bars, government buildings, schools, bus stations and sidewalks.
Those people who will not observe the law will be charged with an on-the-spot fine of $150. The underage lawbreakers are given a reprieve and sent to counseling first. In case they are caught smoking in public a second time, than they will be fined.
Also Dk Nurzafiftah dispelled the myth that hookah smoking, a popular entertainment among youth, is safer than tobacco smoking.
”Smoking hookah during 45 minutes is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes. Hookah exposes a person to twice the volume of carbon monoxide and three times the level of nicotine,” she said.
Also sharing a hookah pipe is very dangerous, as it may lead to various infections as herpes, hepatitis and tuberculosis.
One in nine Bruneians aged 15 and above are smokers, according to data presented by the MoH.
The first clinic specially created to help people stop smoking opened at the Berakas ‘A’ Health Centre in 2005, followed by three more clinics in Sengkurong, Tutong and Seria.
These clinics had a success rate of 36% over the last five years and have helped quit 729 to date.
“The success rate of over 30% is a considerable one,” stated Dr Ernina Nasdzarinah Hj Abdul Rani, officer in charge of the Berakas ‘A’ smoking cessation clinic.
“The aim of these briefing is to increase the understanding of the officers and employees of the Department of Youth and Sports about the harmful effects of tobacco products to themselves and those who surround them,” he stated.
Newly clients of the smoking cessation clinic first fill up a Fagerstrom form in order to determine their level of nicotine addiction; they also undergo a physical examination and a consultation with a doctor to see if they need nicotine replacement therapy. The whole smoking cessation program lasts for six months.
More than 50 officers of the Department of Youth and Sports participated at the briefing that covered various aspects of the dangers of smoking and the steps a smoker may take in order to stop smoking.
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