PALAU GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTING TO COUNTER TOBACCO USE AMONG YOUTH

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KOROR, Palau (January 10, 2002 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online)---Palau's Ministry of Education will conduct a survey on what programs to put in place to reduce the alarming rate of tobacco use among youths.

Director of School Administration Emery Wenty said the assistance of the community, particularly parents, is essential in curbing tobacco use among young people.

A Tobacco Control Program study revealed that youngsters’ tobacco use -- through smoking and chewing betel nuts with tobacco -- had reached alarming proportions.

According to the survey, 70 percent of high school students have tried smoking cigarettes while the rest are already smokers. A high rate of students surveyed also tried using tobacco with the chewing of betel nut.

Although the ministry has instituted policies in schools about tobacco use, the ministry admitted it could not control students when they are outside the campus.

"We recognize the problem but we cannot solve the problem alone. We need the help of the parents and the community," Wenty said.

Officials said youths mostly emulate adults in using tobacco, especially if their parents either smoke or chew betel nuts with tobacco, or if the parents ask their children to go to the store to buy cigarettes.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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