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World survey: 1 in 7 youths smoke

CDC, WHO: 70 percent of them want to quit immediately

World survey: 1 in 7 youths smoke

(CNN) -- Fourteen percent of people age 13 to 15 around the world smoke cigarettes, with nearly a quarter of them having tried their first cigarette by age 10, according to a report released Thursday.

But the survey also found that most young smokers -- nearly 70 percent -- said they want to quit immediately.

The report was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), which oversee the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, a worldwide effort to compile information on youth smoking.

The survey looked at tobacco use among young people in 43 countries and the Palestinian Territories between 1999 and 2001. It found that the highest rates of youth smoking in developing countries.

Selected data on young smokers in Chile, Russia, Ukraine, the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States,  as gathered by the CDC and WHO for the Global Youth Tobacco Survey.

In four countries -- Chile, Russia, Ukraine and the Northern Mariana Islands -- more than a third of students were found to be current smokers.

In the United States, the report found nearly 18 percent of students ages 13 to 15 smoke, slightly above the worldwide average, and only 56 percent said they want to stop smoking.

Second-hand smoke exposure

The report did not look at adult smoking rates. Nor did it determine whether the rate of tobacco use among teens in each country is increasing or decreasing. The CDC said future surveys will look into those topics.

The report did investigate how many young people are exposed to second-hand smoke regularly. Worldwide, 49 percent said someone in their household smokes. In the United States, 42 percent of the young people included in the survey said they're exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

And in public areas, the report said, 60 percent of young people worldwide are exposed to second-hand smoke regularly. In the United States, that figure is 70 percent.

WHO attributes more than 4 million deaths a year to tobacco. The group's officials say they expect that figure will rise to 10 million deaths per year by 2030, with 70 percent of the deaths in developing countries.

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey also brings together governmental and non-governmental representatives from around the world to design and implement programs aimed at cutting down on youth smoking.

Other study findings:

  • Nearly 80 percent of students saw ads for cigarettes at sporting and other events.
  • Some 9.4 percent of young smokers said they smoke six or more cigarettes per day.
  • More than 10 percent said they had been offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company.




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