Bullied teens more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs

UNTV News   •   May 10, 2017   •   3651

FILE PHOTO – A cigarette burns in an ashtray at a pub in Prague, Czech Republic, May 8, 2017. REUTERS/David W Cerny

(Reuters Health) – Children who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to become depressed and experiment with drugs and alcohol during their teen years than their peers who weren’t victimized by other kids, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers followed almost 4,300 students starting in fifth grade, when they were around 11 years old. By tenth grade, 24 percent of the teens drank alcohol, 15 percent smoked marijuana and 12 percent used tobacco.

More frequent episodes of physical and emotional bullying in fifth grade were associated with higher odds of depression by seventh grade, which was in turn linked to greater likelihood of substance use later in adolescence, the study found.

“We drew on the self-medication hypothesis when trying to understand why peer victimization may lead to substance use over time,” said lead study author Valerie Earnshaw, a human development and family studies researcher at the University of Delaware in Newark.

“This suggests that people use substances to try to relieve painful feelings or control their emotions,” Earnshaw said by email. “So, youth who are bullied feel bad, or experience depressive symptoms, and then may use substances to try to feel better.”

For the study, researchers examined data from three surveys conducted from 2004 to 2011 among students at schools in Houston, Los Angeles and Birmingham, Alabama.

Students were asked if they had used tobacco, alcohol or marijuana in the past 30 days and how often they had been victims of bullying by their peers in the previous year. Questions on peer victimization touched on both physical aggression like shoving and kicking as well as emotional taunts like saying nasty things about them to other kids.

At the start of the study in fifth grade, about 10 percent of participants said they had been victims of bulling. This was more common among kids who had chronic illnesses, sexual minorities and boys.

By seventh grade, almost 2 percent of the students reported symptoms of depression.

And by the end of the study in tenth grade, substance use was more common among the kids who had previously reported bullying and depression.

The study isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that bullying directly causes depression or that mental health issues directly cause substance use. Another limitation of the study is its reliance on teens to accurately report any episodes of bullying, symptoms of depression or substance use, the authors note.

It’s also possible that teens who are bullied may later wind up drinking or using drugs because their peer groups include many adolescents who do both of these things, whether on sports teams or among crowds of particularly aggressive kids, said Bonnie Leadbeater, a psychology researcher at the University of Victoria in Canada.

“Being ‘trapped’ in these networks can be particularly problematic in high school, where you see the same people every day,” Leadbeater, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“Youth with multiple networks beyond school through sports, music, art, religious activities, volunteering and work are more apt to find friends and others who see their talents, strengths and abilities,” Leadbeater added. “These strengths are often established in late elementary school.”

The trouble with bullying that leads to mental health problems is that teens with depression and anxiety are more likely to withdraw from peers and lack interest in most things.

“Young teens need to have ways of dealing with peer conflict before it becomes bullying,” Leadbeater said. “Young teens need to believe that getting help is normative and that bullying is not.” — By Lisa Rapaport

SOURCE: bit.ly/2q0qRAQ Pediatrics, online May 9, 2017.

Senate eyes sin tax higher than House version

Maris Federez   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Monday said that they are targeting to pass a bill that will press for sin taxes which are much higher than that of the House version.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 12) certified Senate Bill 1074 that seeks to impose higher taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes including heated tobacco products and vapes.

The higher sin tax aims to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.

Committee chairperson, Sen. Pia Cayetano, said the higher sin tax will ensure that there will be sufficient funds for health services for all Filipinos and lesser consumption of the said sin products.

“I am pushing for a version that recommends higher tax rates than those approved by the House of Representatives for two reasons: first, it will provide proper funding for the delivery of health services to all Filipinos; and second, it will effectively reduce the consumption of sin products,” Cayetano said

In the House version, an estimated P47.9-billion tax will be collected and be allocated to the Universal Health Care program.

A total of P356.9-billion will be allotted for the program in the next five years. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Duterte signs law on higher excise tax on tobacco

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 26, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Illustration

President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Thursday (July 25) the law imposing higher excise taxes on tobacco products, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has confirmed.

“To address the urgent need to protect the right to health of the Filipino people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, the President has signed into law HB no. 8677/ SB no. 2233 Increasing the Excise Tax on Tabacco Products,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, health advocates including the Sin Tax Coalition lauded the signing of the law on increasing tobacco taxes.

“This latest tax increase represents another positive step in protecting more Filipinos from the harmful effects of cigarette smoking,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, health advocate and former independent director of PhilHealth.

READ: Country in a ‘win-win-win’ situation with increased cigarette tax—WHO

Under the new law, Republic Act 11346, tax rates for cigarettes will increase to P45 this 2020, from P35 per pack. There will be additional P5 for each succeeding year.

Duterte to sign tobacco excise tax this week

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2019

Courtesy : Pixabay

President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the proposed tobacco excise tax law this week according to the Department of Finance (DOF) on Wednesday (July 24).

Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua said the law is ready for signature and it will lapse into law by July 27.

“I was told it would be signed this week because that is a priority measure certified urgent by the President in the previous Congress and mentioned by the President in the SONA (state of the nation address),” he said.

READ: DOH lauds tobacco tax bill passage in Congress

Based on the proposed law P10 will be the added tax to a pack of cigarette starting next year and it will increase by P5 in succeeding years.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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