The World Health Organization office in Tunisia: The average age of the first cigarette smoker in the country is approximately 7 years The World Health Organization office in Tunisia: The average age of the first cigarette smoker in the country is approximately 7 years

The World Health Organization office in Tunisia: The average age of the first cigarette smoker in the country is approximately 7 years

The World Health Organization office in Tunisia: The average age of the first cigarette smoker in the country is approximately 7 years
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Olfa Saidi, head of noncommunicable diseases and mental health at the World Health Organization’s office in Tunisia, said that the average age of someone who smokes their first cigarette in Tunisia is approximately 7 years.

Olfa Al-Saidi stated that it is estimated that smoking claims 20 percent of the total deaths in Tunisia.

Al-Saidi stated that fears of the rise in cigarette consumption among adolescents and children are increasing more and more, driven by the emergence of new products, including electronic cigarettes and “heated tobacco” devices, which are popular with this group.

A study completed by the Ministry of Health in 2021 showed that the percentage of consumption of electronic cigarettes among the age group of 15 to 17 years increased to 17 percent, while the percentage of consumption of regular cigarettes approached 14 percent among the same group.

On the other hand, the speaker suggested that the level of smoking consumption among women and girls is likely to increase, despite the lack of accurate statistics on measuring the phenomenon of their consumption, given that all available data are limited to household consumption surveys conducted periodically by the National Institute of Statistics.

Olfa Al-Saidi explained that consumption of this substance is widespread among Tunisians between the ages of 15 and 17 years, and smokers constitute approximately 25 percent, or a quarter of this group.

The fear of exposure to the dangers of smoking on all segments of society is exacerbated, as the official at the World Health Organization office in Tunisia says that 18 percent of all deaths recorded as a result of smoking were primarily victims of passive smoking. 

Despite the efforts of the Tunisian authorities to contain the dangers of smoking, especially since Tunisia had signed the International Convention against Smoking in 2003, reducing consumption requires taking further steps from all parties. Law No. 17 of 1998 dated February 23, 1998 relating to the prevention of the harms of smoking complains. Of the violations at the application level, according to Olfa Al-Saeedi.

The official stated in this context that “this law does not prohibit sales to minors, nor does it prohibit sales to educational and university institutions,” indicating that the World Health Organization had chosen protecting children and youth from the tobacco industry of all kinds as the title of this year’s celebration of World No Tobacco Day, which is celebrated It is held in all member countries of the world on May 31 of each year.

Al-Saidi pointed out that the Tunisian Ministry of Health had put forward an initiative since 2013 to revise the law related to preventing the harms of smoking, and stressed, in return, that protecting society’s health from smoking requires commitment from everyone, including guardians.

She stressed that it is illogical for individuals’ behavior to be normalized by smoking, whether at home, where there are children and infants, or at work.

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