CARPHA Concerned Over Tobacco Use By Caribbean Teenagers – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

More Caribbean teenagers use tobacco on average than youngsters their age around the globe and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is concerned.

According to a CARPHA release, currently, 11.3% of adolescents between 13 and 15 years of age in the Region use tobacco, compared to the world average of 10.3%.

CARPHA quoted the figures to mark World No Tobacco Day on Friday.

The organisation noted that in the Caribbean Region and globally, there has been progress in reducing the use of tobacco, including among adolescents and youth.

However, CARPHA disclosed that the progress is at risk.

It observed an increase in the use of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems, also called electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes, particularly among young people.

CARPHA said nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains.

It also explained that young e-cigarette users likely double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.

“Tobacco use among Caribbean youths persists due to entrenched cultural norms. Celebrations and rituals often revolve around smoking, complicating prevention efforts, while accessibility remains high despite regulatory measures,” the regional health agency stated.

In addition, the organisation said while modest reductions in adolescent smoking prevalence have been observed over five years, significant disparities between Caribbean countries persist.

As a result, CARPHA declared that further implementation of tobacco control measures is essential to sustain and accelerate reductions in adolescent smoking rates regionally.