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Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death and serious illness, killing an estimated 6 million people each year, researchers note in the youth tobacco report from the U. “Smoking has been shown to harm nearly every organ of the body, and science shows that most adult smokers first start smoking during adolescence,” said lead study author Rene Arrazola of the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC.
Such habits caused deformities in children, he said, quoting medical experts.
In 1989, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 38, proclaimed: "State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities." However, children who are over the age of 15 but under the age of 18 are still voluntarily able to take part in combat as soldiers.
The Optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the Convention that came into force in 2002 stipulates that its State Parties – "shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons below the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities and that they are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces".
Limitations of the study include the reliance on teens to accurately recall and report on their smoking behaviour, the authors note.
It also only included students enrolled in school, which might not fully represent smoking behaviour in these countries.