One in Five Czech Schoolchildren Use Tobacco Products

According to recent data from the State Health Institute (SZÚ), one in five Czech children between the ages of 13 and 15 use some form of tobacco product. While young people have partially shifted away from traditional cigarettes, they have turned to substitutes such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco, which they mistakenly believe are “practically harmless.”

The SZÚ presented the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) findings on Wednesday, revealing that the youngest tobacco users are likelier to use e-cigarettes and heated tobacco. The survey found that 21.5% of students use some form of tobacco product, with 19% of boys and 24.1% of girls using them. Of the respondents, 11.2% smoke traditional cigarettes, 10.9% use heated tobacco, 21.4% use e-cigarettes, and 8.1% use nicotine pouches.

Over 54% of young smokers have attempted to quit smoking in the past year, with 28.1% currently trying to stop.

The head of the SZÚ’s Center for Public Health Support, Marie Nejedlá, commented on the shift in tobacco users’ preferences, saying “Not only young people believe the mistaken notion that increasingly popular products such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco are actually ‘healthy’ or practically harmless compared to traditional cigarettes.”

Heated tobacco products contain nicotine, solid particles, benzene, acrolein, and nitrosamines. Zsofia Pusztaiová, head of the WHO office in the Czech Republic, emphasized that the World Health Organization recommends banning new and alternative products until evidence of their lower harm is available or regulating them similarly to traditional tobacco products.

The survey, which has a twenty-year tradition in the Czech Republic, was participated in by 3,190 students between the ages of 13 and 15.