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Health survey finds more young males smoking

A Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) survey has revealed that young people have poor tobacco control, something which is putting their lives at risk.

The findings of the survey were recently passed on to the communities, especially schools where the survey's focus was on nutrition, sanitation and tobacco control.

Young males are particularly at risk, the survey found.

M.O.H. Assistant Chief Executive Officer Health promotion and enforcement, Mae'e Ualesi Silva, said while the data from the survey revealed that there are less youth smoking overall, it also showed that more young males are taking up the habit.

"It's sad," Mae'e said. "We needed to give the results to the communities, because they are the ones who will develop actions and enable situations that are reported during the monitoring."

Falefa Primary School Principal, Pouli Mesepa Sula, said smoking is the reason there is a billboard at her school declaring that it is “smoke free” and its consumption within the school grounds is banned. 

"It is a very important programme because in my school, I will never allow anyone to smoke on my campus, and which also involves my staff members that I'm monitoring as well," she added.

A member of the community, Malifa Lose, expressed concerns at the findings of the M.O.H. survey while admitting that he smokes and is finding it difficult to quit. 

"I am starting to feel frightened and I think it's time to start and quit smoke. I might not be able to stop it all of a sudden, but because of what I have learnt today, I am certain I will try and stop smoking. It's pretty scary.”

The survey also covered nutrition and school nutritionist Darryl Laifai Pupi said he was happy with the feedback, which showed that nutrition in schools is improving. 

"Our goal throughout the surveys was to teach the canteen owners of the food they're supposed to sell to the children or the food the children were supposed to eat and with the feedback today, so far it's improving," he said.

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