Youth Smoking Epidemic: Survey Exposes Disturbing Trends in Bulgaria

Health | June 1, 2024, Saturday // 09:25|  views

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Preliminary data from an online survey conducted by the Medical University - Plovdiv and the Health Care Foundation reveal concerning trends in smoking habits among children in Bulgaria. According to the findings, two percent of children aged 6 to 9 smoke traditional cigarettes, while three percent use electronic cigarettes.

Dr. Plamena Stoimenova from the Medical University in Plovdiv explained that among a group of 15 children in this age range, two or three reported using e-cigarettes on a weekly basis. Shockingly, in 77% of these children's families, at least one parent is a smoker.

Interestingly, the children who do smoke don't do so regularly; instead, they often attribute their behavior to influence from siblings or parents. Despite their knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking, which they express to their parents, they may still adopt the habit later in life, especially during their teenage years.

The survey also highlighted alarming statistics among older age groups. Among youth aged 15 to 19, the majority smoke traditional cigarettes, with 23% using vapes and heated tobacco products. In the 13 to 15 age range, 10% smoke traditional cigarettes, while 23% use vapes. Furthermore, nearly half of young smokers started between the ages of 13 and 19, influenced by their environment and advertising.

Dr. Stoimenova emphasized the allure of flavored e-cigarettes and vapes, which appeal to young users due to their pleasant smell and appearance. The availability of a variety of flavors contributes to their popularity among adolescents.

These findings underscore the need for urgent action to address smoking among children and teenagers in Bulgaria, highlighting the importance of targeted interventions and education to prevent the uptake of smoking at a young age.

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Tags: smoking, Bulgaria, children, cigarettes

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