Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity said Tuesday that the starting age of smokers has dropped down to 10 years old, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.
Ghada Wali said during the Anti-Addiction Conference that the percentage of the Egyptian population smoking cigarettes has gone up by 5 percent since 2009 to 24 percent in 2013.
Wali also said the average personal spending on smoking amounts to nearly LE 200 ($28) per month. She said more than 60 percent of smokers are young adults who have just begun their careers.
The prices of local cigarettes increased by an average of 22 percent Monday after a presidential decree raising sales tax on local and imported cigarettes.
Imported brands witnessed the same increases as well as a 50 percent increase in its retail price.