Access to Anti-smoking Information among School Children and its Potential Impact on Preventing Smoking Initiation: Results from the Global Youth Tobacco Use Survey (GYTS) 2014 in Viet Nam


Hanoi School of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam


Scientific evidence on all aspects of smoking amongst youth is very important for designing appropriate
interventions to reduce smoking among this vulnerable population. This paper describes current access to antismoking
information among school children aged 13 to 15 years in Vietnam in 2014 and examines its potential
impact on preventing smoking initiation. The data used in this paper were obtained from the 2014 Global Youth
Tobacco Survey (GYTS) in Vietnam. Students were asked questions about their level of awareness of anti-smoking
information from various sources in the past 30 days and about lessons in school regarding the dangers of tobacco
use during the last 12 months. Those who have never smoked were asked “whether or not they thought about
avoiding cigarettes because of health warnings on cigarette packages” and answers were analyzed in combination
with data on access to anti-smoking information from other sources. The prevalence of exposure to antismoking
campaigns was high among school children in Viet Nam: 55.3% of current smokers reported thoughts of smoking
cessation because of health warnings on cigarette packages; 60.5% of never smokers avoided initiating smoking
because of the same health warnings. The potential impact of graphic health warnings to prevent school-aged
children from smoking initiation would be stronger if there was concurrent access to anti-smoking programs
on the dangers of tobacco use in schools. However, school education for tobacco prevention and control has
not been as strong as expected. A more comprehensive school curriculum on tobacco prevention and control is
recommended to reinforce antismoking messages among school children.