Tobacco use among students aged 13-15 years--Baghdad, Iraq, 2008.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Apr 03; 58(12):305-8.MM
In 2008, Iraq's parliament ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which obligates participants to establish tobacco use monitoring, surveillance, and evaluation systems. Lack of data on adolescent tobacco use in Iraq led the Ministry of Health (MOH) to conduct the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) in Baghdad in 2008. GYTS is a school-based survey of students aged 13--15 years that is self-administered in classes in selected schools. As in most Middle East countries, tobacco use in Iraq takes the form of cigarettes and shisha. Based on GYTS results, 7.4% of students aged 13--15 years reported having ever smoked cigarettes, 12.9% had ever smoked shisha, 3.2% currently smoked cigarettes, and 6.3% currently smoked shisha. Among never smokers aged 13--15 years, 13.0% reported they were likely to initiate cigarette smoking in the next year. Future declines in adolescent tobacco use in Iraq (and Baghdad) could be enhanced by expanding existing tobacco control programs to include prevention and cessation of the use of cigarettes and shisha, implementing measures that discourage adolescents who have never smoked from initiating tobacco use, expanding legislation to ban exposure to secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces, and enacting legislation banning pro-tobacco advertising and sponsorship.