Personal and non-personal influences on smoking habits of Romanian adolescents

  • Z. Abram
  • I. Balint
  • M. Csibi
  • V. Nadasan


Introduction: Tobacco control experts must concentrate their efforts to prevent smoking and to promote cessation before adolescents become addicted to nicotine. Our aim was to determine different factors associated with tobacco use among high school students. Methods: Data were from the baseline, cross-sectional survey of an intervention study to assess the impact of a culturally- and linguistically-adapted ASPIRE computer-based tobacco prevention program. The survey was conducted among 1,835 9th grade students from Tirgu Mures, Romania. We assessed the association of personal and non-personal factors on tobacco experimentation and past 30-day use using bivariate analyses. Results: More than half have tried smoking cigarettes at least once in their lifetime, 24.1% have smoked cigarettes during the last 30 days. Perceived peer experimentation was the strongest factor associated with ever smoking (OR=4.65) and smoking in the last 30 days (OR=7.94). Other personal factors associated with experimentation and past 30 day use included: having a brother (OR=3.17, OR=2.66), father (OR=2.07, OR=1.98), mother (OR=1.48, OR=1.68) or another person at home (OR=1.86, OR=2.37) who smokes. Non-personal factors included: being exposed to pro-smoking messages at the cinema (OR=2.36, OR=1.97), at sport events (OR=2.25, OR=2.06), in newspapers and magazines (OR=1.46, OR=1.80). Being exposed to pro-smoking messages on the internet, radio-TV, in shopping areas, outdoor displays were not significantly associated with ever trying cigarettes and past 30 day use. Conclusions: Given the high rates of smoking among adolescents, policies and evidence-based tobacco prevention programs targeting adolescents, such as ASPIRE should be priority for public health in Romania.
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