REPORT: About 15.7% students at preparatory and secondary schools in Qatar are smokers
[Photo courtesy: Ferran Jorda via Flickr]
About 15.7% students at preparatory and secondary levels smoke, according to a recent survey.
The findings have revealed a rising number of smokers among school students in Qatar. According to a report published in The Peninsula, the three main factors for this addiction among students were:
- Lack of parental supervision
- Bad company
- Easy access to cash
A former official at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education also added that personal drivers with a smoking habit, or even teachers and parents, could have a negative influence among kids. (Read full report here.)
Qatar’s current anti-smoking law (Law No. 20 of 2002) prohibits selling cigarettes, tobacco and its derivatives within a distance of less than 500 metres of schools and other educational or training institutions.
However, there have been talks to make the law stricter. Shops will now be required to be at least 1km away from educational institutions. Shops selling cigarettes to kids would be fined QR5,000 instead of QR500.
Not just cigarettes
Volatile substance abuse is another growing trend among students in Qatar. It’s been estimated that between 3-5%of adults are addicted to drugs and alcohol in Qatar. However, the most vulnerable group is students and youth – “Those between the ages of 15 and 40,” according to Dr. Taher Shaltout, a psychiatrist at Hamad Medical Corporation in an earlier JustHere report.
The rampant use of cigarettes and drugs has had adverse effects on the performance of students at schools. Last year, JustHere carried an article, where Hasan Al Baker, the Principal of one of the most successful independent schools in the country, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Thani Independent Secondary School for boys admitted that the biggest issues holding back students of independent schools in Qatar, is how they are raised at home, smoking, and even use of ‘swaika’ a popular drug.