TCRA research: Burkinabé researcher looks at why local school children are using tobacco
Why do young people smoke?
This is a question that has baffled many tobacco control researchers, hoping to discourage adolescents and young people from taking up a harmful that can have negative consequences on their health later in life.
Studies in Côte d’Ivoire have shown that factors such as curiosity and snobbery as well as other social factors and frequently visiting places where people smoked promoted smoking among young people. But can the same be said for the neighbouring Burkina Faso, where each year more than 4000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses.
Issa Kabore plans to look at the smoking prevalence in public schools in Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou to find out.
Kabore is a researcher in the Department of Public Health at Joseph Ki-Zerbo University.
Kabore is one of 12 African researchers who has been awarded a USD5000 grant to conduct research under the Tobacco Control Research Agenda, hosted by the Center for Tobacco Control in Africa.
The research agenda has identified eight priority areas for tobacco control.
Young people aged 15 and over represent a significant portion of these tobacco users.It’s a known fact that young people are exposed to tobacco and alcohol, which are harmful to their health.
They face various risks. These include:
- getting dependent on nicotine,
- engaging in violent behaviour, contemplating suicide, and
- voluntarily dropping out of classes.
Kabore’s study will make use of self-administered questionnaires to ascertain the prevalence of tobacco consumption in high schools and general technical public schools in the city.
In so doing, the study will provide information on the socio-cultural aspects that serve as protective factors to tobacco consumption and provide insights into students’ awareness of campaigns and policies to combat tobacco consumption.
Understanding the smoking prevalence of this group of young people will help the government to develop interventions and initiatives that will reduce smoking in schools.
This in turn will reduce the life-threatening illnesses caused by smoking such as lung, larynx and bladder cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases that typically appear years after the start of use.