December 18, 2014

Illicit cigarette trade worsens under-age smoking



The stress he felt just a little while ago is forgotten and it seems to have vanished with each puff. For a brief moment, at least, the cigarette will free him from his cravings.

He is not the only one who puffs to relieve tension. There are hundreds of young people in Botswana who are addicted to smoking, despite the various health hazards associated with it.

According to medical experts, cigarette smoking affects many organs, including the brain, nervous system, eyes, blood, lungs and heart and even causes death.

However, the number of cigarette smokers, especially those that are at adolescent stage, is said to have risen sharply not only in Francistown but also in other urban centres.

The 2001 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) indicated that tobacco-use prevalence among girls increased by 4.4 percent in 2008. According to the survey, there is an overall 14.3 percent smoking prevalence among 13-15 year-old upper primary (Standard Seven) and lower secondary (Forms one and two). About 21 percent of persons aged 15 and above are smoking in Botswana.

Smuggled cigarettes like Madison, Kingsgate, Everest, Pacific and Seville’s are some of the commonly used tobacco products. The survey further revealed that cigars are becoming fashionable in the country, adding that previously ,cigar-use was observed only among up-market consumers.

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