A national survey shows that 6-7% of Moroccan minors aged 13-15 consumed tobacco in 2017-2018 period
By Abdessamad El Baz
Rabat – In Parliamentary questioning held on Monday, June 10, Anas Doukkali, Morocco’s Minister of Health, said that smoking is a major threat to national health and the number one cause of death around the world.
Anas Dokali added that 23.4% of men and 2% of women consume tobacco, according to the National Survey On Non-Communicable Diseases 2017- 2018.
Statistics also show that 6 to 7 % of minors aged 13-15 consume tobacco, 4.4% of these are girls.
In order to reduce the rate of smokers, the Ministry of Health has developed the National Program for Prevention and Combating Smoking, which was introduced in 2010 within the national plan to prevent and control cancer.
The Ministry, in partnership with Lalla Salma Foundation for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer, designed a plan that consists of 78 measures, 8 of which are specifically dedicated to combat smoking.
The national program has four main aims: the organization of epidemiological studies to monitor the spread of this epidemic, raising awareness of the dangers of smoking, assisting smokers who wish to quit smoking, and strengthening the legal framework against smoking.
Houcine El Ouardi, the former health minister, said that 75 % of smoking-related deaths are due to lung cancer, while 10 % are caused by respiratory diseases.
A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the number of Moroccan smokers is expected to reach over 7 million by 2025.
According to the Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxes (ADII), Moroccans consumed 13.8 billion cigarettes in 2016, 1.2 billion more cigarettes compared to 2015.
On a global scale
Tobacco kills more than eight million people every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 7 million of those deaths are a direct result of smoking while “around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke”.
Non-smokers who are exposed to tobacco also suffer serious health risks, including major cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. “In pregnant women, it causes pregnancy complications and low birth weight,” stated WHO.
WHO also added that 65 000 children die each year from diseases related to secondhand smoke.