Students less interested in smoking

JIJI

Japanese students, from elementary school to high school, are far less interested in smoking because of spreading awareness of its negative effects, an education ministry survey said.

Of the 75,000 students polled last December, boys who intend to smoke in the future ranged from 3.9 percent to 9.0 percent in the survey, which covered fifth-graders, between the ages of 10 and 11, to high school seniors, between 17 and 18.

The range for the previous survey, in 2006, was 6.6 percent to 17.2 percent, while the 2000 poll showed a range of 15.5 percent to 30.2 percent.

Among girls, the latest range dropped to 1.5 percent to 3.4 percent, compared with the 2006 range of 3.4 percent to 7.5 percent and the 2000 range of 6.9 percent to 11.5 percent.

The steep falls “are believed to reflect the effects of education and enlightenment” about the health hazards of smoking, said an official of the ministry’s School Health Education Division.

The official added that the ministry will strive more to improve student awareness of the harmful effects of law-evading herbs that include hallucinogenic substances similar to but different from those in illegal drugs.