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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 2:00 PM

Problems of Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption in Adolescence: Implications for a Combined Prevention and Treatment School Programme in Trinidad and Tobago

Elizabeth Richards, MSc, Sociology, Research, NADAPP, Ministry of Social Development, 62 Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago

Objective: To ascertain similarities in the tobacco and alcohol consumption patterns, among secondary school students.

Methods: Data was collected by means of a pre-coded questionnaire. The questionnaires were distributed to 4058 students in 56 private/ public secondary schools. Students in Forms 2, 4 and 6 were used in the survey.

Results: From the survey the following were revealed about the students'consumption patterns: 1. For 30-day current use, that is, use prior to the survey; 8.5% used cigarettes while 26% used alcohol. 2. Frequency of daily use: 32.5% smoked 1-5 cigarettes daily, while 18% had 1-5 drinks daily. 3. First use for the 12-13 age group; 34.2% used cigarettes while 28.5% used alcohol. 4. The main reason for both cigarette (48.8%) and alcohol (32.0%) use was curiosity. 5. Attitude and Perception: a. 2.2% said that smoking cigarettes were not harmful while 5.2 % did not know that smoking cigarettes was harmful. b. 2.4 % said that it was not harmful to frequently drink alcohol while 6.2% did not know if it was harmful to frequently drink alcohol.

The above results have shown that there has to be greater emphasis on cigarette and alcohol use/abuse and cessation in School Prevention Programmes. There are implications for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC); enforce legislation to prevent the sale of cigarettes and alcohol to minors, ban advertisement of products on the media, include cessation programmes and special treatments programmes in School Education Programmes.