A study conducted by the National Antidrug Agency reveals that almost one third of the Romanian teenagers aged up to 16 have smoked at least one cigarette in the past 30 days, while almost 20% of them are smoking on a daily basis, although the law bans tobacco selling to the minors.
The study was conducted in 2015 on a sample of 3,500 pupils, showing that 51.7% of the teenagers up to 16 have smoked at least one cigarette in their life. The same study reveals that 30.1% of the pupils have smoked at least one cigarette in the past 30 days. 19.8% of the interviewed minors said they smoke on a daily basis.
The study also discloses that about 23% of the teenagers have smoked their first cigarette before turning 14.
“The tobacco consumption among teenagers in Romania continues to post high values. Even if there was a downward trend compared to 2003, in 2015 high values similar to the ones in 2011 still linger; it’s almost double compared to the EU average,” said pneumologist Magda Ciobanu.
On the other hand, a similar study on adults smoking in Romania after the anti-smoking law enforced this spring reveals that 61.1% of the Romanian smokers are endorsing the current law banning smoking in enclosed spaces, in public and private institutions or in the transportation means.
Health minister Vlad Voiculescu and secretary of state with the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat warned over the effects that smoking would have on children if the anti-smoking law were amended.
“It’s clear that the population doesn’t want this law amended. However, the anti-smoking law has been attacked in Parliament, by renowned doctors, who filed amendments that jeopardize all the Romanians’ health. Romania would become a unique case in the civilized world, we would become the first country that is taming the anti-smoking legislation,” said Health Minister Voiculescu.
In his turn, Raed Arafat suggested that norms might be tightened as well.
“The chance to have a heart failure, a stroke or a lung disease, or different types of cancer is growing on smokers. When they are 20, young people who smoke have already affections that they don’t know of, but which they’ll feel at 35 or 40. I would prefer them not pay the vice tax and stop smoking, for in this way the healthcare system would save money,” Arafat argued.
The anti-smoking law has come into force in March this year, but the Senate has recently adopted some amendments that would allow smoking in locations especially upgraded and inscribed, without settling the limit on the size of such space. The law amendments are pending at the Chamber of Deputies.