KIRIBATI MEN AND WOMEN HEAVY SMOKERS

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TARAWA, Kiribati (April 9, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Kiribati)---Kiribati men and women are among the heaviest smokers in the Asia-Pacific region.

That finding resulted from a joint Pacific Community, United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organization survey. It found that that 80 percent of Kiribati men and 70 percent of the country’s women -- aged 15 and up -- are active smokers.

Kiribati Health Secretary Dr. Takeieta Kienene said smoking is prevalent among I-Kiribati because tobacco is widely accepted as appropriate in the traditional exchange of gifts.

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