Iran’s Health Minister has warned that Iranian students are taking up smoking at increasingly younger ages.

The Shargh daily newspaper reported on Thursday: “The increase in smoking cigarettes and hookah in schools all across the country has been confirmed by Ministry of Education officials.”

According to Shargh: “Yesterday, the aide to the Minister of Health raised the alarm regarding the use of tobacco among youth.” He reportedly blamed the Education Ministry for its lack of action regarding this problem.

According to his report, three percent of 13- to 15-year-olds are addicted to tobacco, and over 40 percent of teenagers are being exposed to second-hand smoke.

A report by the Society for the Fight Against Smoking says Iranian youth are starting to smoke as early as age 11.
The report adds that there are 70,000 smoking-related deaths each year in Iran.