Students Take Part in Anti-Tobacco Forum

Photo: Dave Reid Youth Empowerment Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Ruth Lawrence (right), addresses students from the Waterford High School attending the Jamaica Cancer Society’s 7th annual Anti-Tobacco Youth Forum, which was held under the theme ‘Mek Wi Talk Round 2’. The forum was held on February 23 at the Courtleigh Auditorium, in Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Scores of high-school students participated in the Jamaica Cancer Society’s seventh annual Anti-Tobacco Youth Forum, held on February 23 under the theme: ‘Mek Wi Talk Round 2’. The forum, held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston, formed part of the Society’s ongoing public-awareness campaign in the fight against tobacco usage by young persons.
  • Tobacco contributes to diseases such as lung cancer and cancers of the mouth, lips, nose, sinuses, voice box, throat, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon, rectum and the ovaries.

Scores of high-school students participated in the Jamaica Cancer Society’s seventh annual Anti-Tobacco Youth Forum, held on February 23 under the theme: ‘Mek Wi Talk Round 2’.

The forum, held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston, formed part of the Society’s ongoing public-awareness campaign in the fight against tobacco usage by young persons.

At the event, presentations were made by representatives from the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Jamaica National Foundation, National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) and the Jamaica Fitness Association.

Counsellor at the NCDA, Daniel Brown, informed that young persons decide to use tobacco or marijuana as a result of stress, peer pressure and curiosity.

“The average smoker uses more than 5,000 cigarettes every single year. One of the reasons why cigarette smoke is so deadly is because of what is inside of it. In the cigarette there are over 4,800 different chemicals. Many of the chemicals you find in paint, rat poison and insecticides… all of these things are found in the cigarette. You are never too young to become addicted to it,” Mr. Brown said.

Tobacco contributes to diseases such as lung cancer and cancers of the mouth, lips, nose, sinuses, voice box, throat, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon, rectum and the ovaries.

In a 2010 National Council on Drug Abuse study, the research showed that Jamaican youth begin smoking as early as 13 years of age.

Additionally, the findings were that at least 44.4 per cent of students had smoked at least once; 31.3 per cent smoked any tobacco product and 20.2 per cent smoked cigarettes; and in 2016 the NCDA reported that there was an increase in the number of students who used marijuana.

Tobacco is the world’s leading cause of preventable deaths, and is far more addictive than marijuana. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and symptoms of serious nicotine addiction often occur quickly after the first youth experimentation with tobacco.

Every day, 80,000 to 100,000 young people around the world become addicted to tobacco. If current trends continue, 250 million children and young people alive today will die from tobacco-related diseases.

Second-hand smoke kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year, including 165,000 children.

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