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Beware! Cigarette companies luring kids into smoking with technology

Published:Friday | November 23, 2012 | 9:56 AM

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is warning parents to be even more vigilant, as cigarette and tobacco companies have stepped up their use of technology and mobile applications to entice individuals to smoke.

Speaking at a forum yesterday, Executive Director of the Foundation, Deborah Chen said these companies have increased their use of smart phone applications, computers and mobile games to pass on subtle messages even to children.

She said there are more than 100 mobile applications which appear to promote smoking to users of these technologies.

She described this kind of promotion of smoking as deadly, noting that children and young adults are the main users of such technologies and are also included in the target groups of cigarette and tobacco companies.

Citing a 2010 survey by the National Council on Drug Abuse, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s executive director pointed out that the study found that 17 per cent of children are smokers.

Chen further said that the survey also found that the number of children, who started to smoke before the age of 10 moved from 18.7 per cent in 2009 to 20 per cent a year later.

She added that the number of children who reported needing a cigarette first thing in the morning went from 5.9 per cent to 13.4 per cent in 2010.

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