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High prevalence of tobacco use among children

07 June 2023, MVT 17:09
[File] An individual putting out a cigarette
07 June 2023, MVT 17:09

Health Protection Agency (HPA) of the Maldives has stated that a significant proportion of the child population in the country uses various tobacco products.

According to data released by HPA, 45.7 percent of children aged 13 to 15 years use various tobacco products. Among them, 45 percent of children are male, while 43.2 percent are female.

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2019, revealed that 23.1 percent of boys and 10.7 percent of girls aged 13 to 15 years used electronic cigarettes. The survey also revealed that electronic cigarettes were used by 17.1 percent of all children in the same age group. Additionally, 3.1 percent of children reported using shisha, and among them, 14.9 percent started began using shisha at the age of 10.

According to the survey, 25.7 percent of the Maldivian population uses tobacco products, which accounts for approximately 1 in every 4 people. The majority of tobacco users are men, with a percentage of 35.6 percent, while females users are make up 7.6 percent.

Tobacco usage by age group

● 15 – 29 years: 20.1 percent

● 30 – 44 years: 29 percent

● 45 – 65 years: 23.4 percent

With the increase in the use of tobacco in Maldives, there is growing concern about the impact on secondhand smokers. According to the data, 27.1 percent of secondhand smokers reported being affected because someone in their household is a smoker. Additionally, 10.4 percent of secondhand smokers stated that they were impacted by smoking in their workplace.

Statistics provided by the Maldives Customs Service reveals that tobacco products worth USD 25,646,223 (MVR 393,652,853) were imported into the Maldives between January 2022 and the end of April 2023. Cigarettes and bidis made up the majority of these imports while electronic cigarettes ranked as the second most imported product.

These figures highlight the significant amount of tobacco products being brought into the Maldives and underline the need for continued efforts in tobacco control and prevention.

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