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With a view to highlight the prevailing trend among smokers, the Ministry

of Health has conducted a survey to find out the rate of tobacco smoking
in different age groups. The result of this survey, conducted among the
students in schools and colleges of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al
Khaimah, are given below in percentage:


Smokers belonging to each




consumed by
each age group

Quit attempts


As a Chief Research Officer on behalf of the Ministry of Health, write a

report on general trend in tobacco smoking among students, supporting
your discussion with appropriate illustrations. The report is to be
submitted to the Managing Director, Ministry of Health, DHA building,
Deira, PO Box 4545, Dubai, UAE.

Report Number: 24565

DHA Building, Deira
P.O.Box 4545
Dubai, U.A.E


Prepared for
Ahmed Shumayl
Managing Director
Hassan Abdul Moeib
Chief Research Officer
Approved by
Hussein Taheri
Chief Executive Officer

December 14, 2013


Mere thanks in a few words would be inappropriate; however we would like

to express our sincere gratitude to the volunteers from various schools
who took the initiative to inspire their fellow class mates to respond to the
survey. Further we show our sincere appreciation to the various
organizations like WHO, BMP and CEITC whose surveys have been a major
source of inspiration and support.

We thank all the respondents for the valuable information provided

without which this survey would have been a failure. A special thanks to
the Al Hammar Printing Press for offering to take up the printing of the
report and the result of the survey.
Last but not the least I would like to thank Mr. Ahmed Shumayl, Managing
director for whom this report has been prepared and Mr. Hussein Taheri,
Chief Executive Officer for approving the survey.


1. Introduction
1.1 Authorization
1.2 Historical background
1.3 Objectives
1.4 Scope
1.5 Limitations
1.6 Methodology
1.7 Report Preview

2. Discussion
2.1 Percentage of Smokers
2.2 Percentage of Cigarettes Smoked Per Day
2.3 Quit Attempts
3. Conclusions
4. Recommendations
4.1 For Age group 13-16
4.2 For age group 17-20
4.3 For age group 21-24

The following report based on the General trend of tobacco smoking
among students has been approved and authorized by Mr. Hussain
Taheri, Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of Health, on December
10, 2013 .

1.2 Historical Background

Smoking tobacco is prevalent in adults and many confessed to have
started at an early age. Young kids nave experimentation
frequently develops into regular smoking, which typically turns into
a strong addictionwell before the age of 18that can overpower
the most well-intentioned efforts to quit. More than a third of all kids
who ever try smoking a cigarette become regular, daily smokers
before leaving high school. In fact, the addiction rate for smoking
(the percentage of experimenters who ultimately become habitual
users) is higher than the addiction rates for marijuana, alcohol or
Research also shows that the earlier people begin smoking, the
higher their risk of contracting lung cancer or experiencing a range
of risk factors and health problems in adulthood. Overall, roughly
one third of all kids who become regular smokers before adulthood
will eventually die from smoking.
Evidence also shows that smoking can be a first step toward other
substance abuse. Stopping or delaying that first step will reduce the
risk that kids will progress to using other harmful substances.
In the background of above discussion a survey was conducted on
the general trend in tobacco smoking among students.

1.3 Objectives
The report based on the data obtained through survey aims at:


Ascertaining the percentage of smokers in each age group

and their tobacco consumption as well as quit attempts
Recommending appropriate awareness programs and
rehabilitation schemes
The survey was conducted in schools and colleges of Dubai,
Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah .


Students of the age group 13-24 were surveyed on amount of

tobacco consumed and quit attempts.

As mentioned above the survey was limited to Dubai, Abu

Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah due to time
The data obtained on age group 13-16 may not be
accurate as many are scared to reveal true fact while
some are not mature enough to understand the
significance of such a survey.

1.6 Methods and Sources of Data Collection

The present report is based on the data collected by means of a
survey by questionnaire. A questionnaire (refer to Appendix A)
containing twelve questions was distributed through mail to 70,000
students residing in the above-mentioned Emirates. The students
belonging to all strata of the society (different income, religious,
linguistic groups) were randomly selected. Out of 70,000 students
61,835 students in total returned the filled questionnaires.
Later, 4000 students out of 61,835 were interviewed that is 1000
from each Emirate.

1.7 Report Preview

Besides Introduction, the report contains three sections. Section 2
gives a detailed analysis of the trends in smoking prevalent among
students. Section 3 sums up the discussion and shows the results
whereas Section 4 contains suggestions and recommendations.


2.1 Smokers belonging to each category:
On analyzing the percentage of youth who smoke, it is found that
the students belonging to the 21-24 age group constitute majority
of smokers (60%). This is followed by 17-20 category, in which 35%
(as shown in figure 1) of the students smoke tobacco. It appears
that students belonging to the above mentioned age groups tend to
smoke the most as a form of stress relief. Since they go through a
period of transition from adolescence to adulthood, which comes

with a lot of pressure to fit into the society and make important
career-related decisions, they face a lot of stress. This makes them
turn to tobacco smoking.
As expected, the percentage of smokers in the 13-16 age group is
considerably lower, at about 5%. Media seems to play a role in
creating smokers of this age. Studies have suggested that when
young viewers see a main character smoking, theyre more likely to
see smoking as something socially acceptable, stylish and desirable.
Also, they are easily influenced by peers to smoke, so that they are
not seen as misfits.




Figure 1. Percentage of Smokers

2.2 Tobacco consumed by each age group:

It is observed that the students in the 21-24 age group consume
51% of tobacco (as shown in figure 2), which amounts to an average
of 22 cigarettes per day. Those in the 17-20 range are not far
behind, with survey showing us that they consume about 17
cigarettes (37%), a little more than a packet, per day. In
comparison, children between the ages of 13 and 16 consume just
12% of tobacco, that is, 3 to 8 cigarettes per day.
This trend can be related to ease of access to cigarettes. Students
aged 18 and above can procure cigarettes legally and are also
financially equipped to do so since most of them either work part
time or are provided pocket money. Even though students below 17
years cannot buy cigarettes legally, some of them look old enough

and since identity verification is not required for tobacco purchase,

they get away with it. They might also have friends of the legal age
group who are willing to buy it for them or sometimes even provide
it for free. Younger kids are more likely to steal cigarettes, either
from shops or from a parent who smokes.
Considering these factors, it can be concluded that roughly half of
all youth smokers who regularly buy their own cigarettes consume
considerably more than half of all youth-smoked cigarettes. They
also supply a substantial portion of the cigarettes smoked by those
youth smokers who typically buy or borrow their cigarettes from




Figure 2. Percentage of Tobacco Consumed

2.3 Quit Attempts
A very small percentage of students (2%) between the ages of 13
and 16 actually attempt to quit smoking since they have only just
begun smoking and are not mature enough to understand the
consequences it might have on their mental and physical health.
Further, studies show that some youth smokers do not see
themselves as smokers, hence they do not find the need to
attempt quitting. Survey shows that 73% (as shown in figure 3) of
students in 17-20 category and 25% in the 21-24 category made
quit attempts.
The maximum percentage of quit attempts has been observed
among the students aged between 17 and 20 years. This is related
to the fact that they now recognise themselves as smokers and
have already started facing loss of stamina and lethargy due to
smoking. In U.A.E, families are a close knit unit and smoking is not

accepted. So the fear of being exposed and facing the repercussions

often initiate attempts to quit. In contrast, only 25% of the youth
aged 21-24 years make quit attempts because by this stage, they
have become heavy chain smokers and this addiction makes
quitting close to impossible. Also, quitting will lead to withdrawal
symptoms which are much more severe, than if it was done in the
earlier stages of smoking.


Figure 3. Percentage of Quit Attempts among Youth Smokers

The report has brought out a distinct pattern in youth smokers of
different age groups when we considered different categories
related to tobacco smoking:

The students in the 13-16 range contribute the least to the smokers
population at 5%. They also smoke the least amount of tobacco of
them all because they are underage. The quit attempts in this age
group is very low as they have not yet acknowledged themselves as
smokers and are not old enough to understand the medical
implications of smoking.
The 17-20 category (35% smokers) has the most percentage of quit
attempts, with 73% of the smokers having tried to quit. The quit
attempts is largest among them because they are more aware of
the way smoking can affect their lives and realize that if they do not
quit now, they would become chain smokers. Since these issues are
addressed openly with people of this age, they take the initiative to
approach professional help.
The maximum percentage of smokers belongs to the 21-24 age
group. They smoke the most amount of tobacco since they are of

legal age and also are financially able to support these expenses. In
contrast, the quit attempts among them is lowest because by this
age, they have already become chain smokers and find it extremely
difficult to face the withdrawal symptoms of quitting. Also, they no
longer have to fear being exposed to parents since they consider
themselves to be independent adults capable of making decisions.

Based on the survey and the discussion the requirement for each
age group to quit smoking is different. Mass media campaigns
against tobacco usemost often TV adshave proven very
effective at helping prevent tobacco use by young people. Studies
show that teens respond most to ads that trigger strong negative
feelings, such as ads about how smoking and second-hand smoke
harm health and ads that expose the tobacco industrys marketing
strategies that target young people. Even ads that are designed for
adult audiences help reduce tobacco use among young people.
4.1 Age group 13-16
Every 3 or 4 years, new groups of children and teens reach the age
where they are vulnerable to influences encouraging them to
smoke. To be effective, mass media campaigns must be repeated so
they will reach new vulnerable populations.
Schools should have strict tobacco-free policies. Parents should
strictly abstain from tobacco and not allow its use at home or in
their cars. They must know what they are doing and who their
friends are. It would also help to network with other parents who
can help you encourage teens to refuse tobacco.
4.2 Age group 17-20
Most students falling into this category are already started being
addicted to tobacco. They require a more intense program to help
them quit. An in depth awareness about the repercussions of
smoking is a must. Coupled with it moral support from families and
friends is also helpful. Helping students in this particular age group
to relive stress and depression is also of great importance since
they are young adults i.e. individuals with the responsibilities like
those of adults but not the experience. Many at times rehabilitation
is not required. Taking medical help should also be encouraged if

4.3 Age group 21-24

Most students in this category are chain smokers who have failed in
the attempts of quitting and have either little or no hope of
succeeding. They require medicinal help along with moral support
and inspiration. Even though it is more difficult to quit at this age
instilling in them a want to quit can work wonders. The consultation
at a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centre is always
recommended .Keeping the family ties intact and having supporting
parents as well as close social relations inspire good health and quit

Ministry of Health


Note: Please check () in the suitable boxes except where asked to

indicate your answers otherwise

1. Are you aware about the health hazards of smoking? (Check all that

Not Aware
Respiratory problems
Lung cancer
Heart Diseases


Any other specify: ___________________________

2. From where did you learn about the hazards of smoking? (Check all
that apply)
a. Public welfare advertisements
b. Documentary films
c. Elders advice
d. School
e. Printed articles
f. Others (Specify: ______________________________)
3. Have you ever smoked?
a. Ever smoked
b. Never smoked
(Discard next qn. If ans. Is Never smoked )
4. Do you still smoke?
a. Yes
b. No
(Discontinue if No)
5. During the past 30 days, on the days you smoked, how many
cigarettes did you smoke per day?
a. I did not smoke cigarettes during the past 30 days
b. Less than 1 cigarette per day
c. 2 to 5 cigarettes per day
d. 6 to 10 cigarettes per day
e. More than 10 cigarettes per day
6. Have you ever been advised by anyone against smoking or
reprimanded for it? If yes, please identify the person and your
relationship with him/her.
7. Rank (1-4) the following as your most preferred to least preferred
source to get money to buy cigarettes?
a. Pocket money
b. Ask extra money
c. Borrow from friends

d. Steal
8. How easy do you think it is for students of your age to buy tobacco
products in a store?
a. Easy
b. somewhat easy
c. Not easy at all
9. Do you think smoking cigarettes makes young people look cool or fit
a. Definitely yes
b. Probably yes
c. Probably not
d. Definitely not
10.Does anyone who lives with you now?
(Choose all that apply)
a. Smoke cigarettes
b. Use smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, or
c. Smoke cigars, cigarillos, or little cigars
d. Use any other form of tobacco
e. no one who lives with me now uses any form of tobacco

11.Are you seriously thinking about quitting cigarettes? (Please choose

the first answer that fits)
a. I do not smoke cigarettes
b. Yes, within the next 30 days
c. Yes, within the next 6 months
d. Yes, within the year
e. No, I am not thinking about quitting cigarettes
12.Have you ever tried quitting before?
a. Yes
b. No

DHA Building, Deira
P.O.Box 4545
Dubai, U.A.E

Fax: 00971-4-2330444

October 12,2013
Subject: Data for general trend in tobacco smoking among students
Dear Respondent
The Ministry Of Health is conducting a survey on the general trend of
tobacco smoking prevalent among students aged 13-24 years .This survey
aims at getting information on what age students start smoking , the
amount of tobacco consumed and also their general views on smoking .
Your response will be our most valuable asset in suggesting methods of
rehabilitation of chain smokers and to help making quit attempts
successful. It further aims at obtaining clarity on this issue as it of great
significance in improving the health of the younger generation as well as
in bringing down the number of chain smokers. It is a prime step in
preventing students from falling prey to the unhealthy practice. I call
upon each of the respondent to co-operate by providing precise
information without the fear of breach of privacy. Let us create healthier
adults and safer environment for a better future.

A survey form with 12 questions is attached here with .You are requested
to complete this survey form and send it back to
surveyonsmokers@gmail.com before November 15,2013.Please be
reassured that your answers will be treated in the strictest confidence and
will be used only for the purpose stated above. The results of the survey
will be published.
In case of inquiries, please contact :
MOH - Ministry of Health
Telephone: 00971-4-2330000
Fax: 00971-4-2330444
Thank you for giving us your valuable time.

Sincerely yours,
Hassan Abdul Moeib
Chief Research Officer
Enclosures: 1) A survey form


Sites referred:


Addiction: - impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance

or behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial. Habits and patterns associated
with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward),
coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).

Chain smoking: - Smoking cigarettes in quick succession, consuming a

large amount of tobacco.
Light smoking: - Smoking once in a while and consuming such a small
amount of tobacco that many at times they are not even considered
Medical help: - in this context medical help refers to support in the form
of a combination of medicines to enable quitting.
MOH: - Ministry Of Health.
Marijuana:- Cannabis, also known as marijuana (from the Mexican
Spanish marihuana), ] is a preparation of the Cannabis plant intended for use as
a psychoactive drug and as medicine . Cannabis is often consumed for
its psychoactive and physiological effects, which can include heightened mood or euphoria,
relaxation, and increase in appetite. Unwanted side-effects can sometimes include a
decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, reddening of the eyes, and
feelings of paranoia or anxiety.

Rehabilitation:- is a term for the processes of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment,

for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street
drugs such as cocaine, heroin or amphetamines and tobacco. The general intent is to
enable the patient to cease substance abuse, in order to avoid the psychological, legal,
financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme
Withdrawal symptoms: - Drug withdrawal is the group of symptoms that occur upon the
abrupt discontinuation or decrease in intake of medications or recreational drugs. In order to
experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical and/or
mental dependence (often referred to as chemical dependency). Withdrawal from Nicotine
brings on irritability, fatigue, insomnia, headache, and difficulty concentrating.