| James Kon |
AROUND 39.7 per cent of students aged between 13 and 15 have been exposed to passive smoking at home, while 59.2 per cent of them have experienced the same in enclosed public areas.
The worrying statistics on passive or secondhand smoking were discovered by the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2013 Brunei Darussalam which interviewed 1,574 students from 25 schools nationwide.
Details of the survey were explained by Dayang Noorizan binti Hj Idris from the Stop Smoking Programme of the Health Promotion Centre in her talk on ‘The Dangers of Passive Smoking’ at the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Over 360 students from 16 educational institutions and the youth association Persatuan Kemajuan Insan (KESAN) attended the talk which was held in conjunction with the National Campaign Against Non-Communicable Diseases 2014 which was launched last week.
Dayang Noorizan said that the survey also found that 49.8 per cent of the students saw an individual smoking within a building or outside the school compound within the past 30 days of the period of the survey.
Globally, six million individuals die each year due to smoking with 600,000 of them affected by passive smoking, she said.
She said that passive smoking has high risks because the smoke is unrefined and contains more dangerous chemicals than the smoke inhaled by the smoker.
The passive smoke contains three times more tar and nicotine, five times more carbon monoxide and other dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer, she said.
The dangers of passive smoking for babies were also explained. Babies who experience passive smoking face the risk of dying in the first year of their lives and suffer from slow mental and physical growth that can affect their studies, Dayang Noorizan said.
She asked people in the audience who had been exposed to passive smoking to raise their hands and a huge number did so.
She said smokers who want help from the health authorities to quit can go to the Quit Smoking Clinic located at health centres nationwide or contact Healthline/Quitline 145 during working hours, Tobacco Enforcement Hotline 7192005 or Quit Smoking Clinic Hotline 8882005.