REASONS ENCOURAGING ADOLESCENTS TO TAKE UP SMOKING
Aim: To understand adolescents' smoking behavior by analyzing retrospective self-ratings of the reasons encouraging them to take up smoking. Method: Participating in the study were 883 students (373 boys) of elementary and secondary schools in Kosice, Slovak Republic (74.9% of adolescents in the sample reported having experience with smoking). Smoking status and reasons for taking up smoking were measured using questionnaires. Results: Boys and girls ranked as the most important reasons for taking up smoking novelty, curiosity, peer influence and enjoyment seeking. Significant effect of grade was found in boys' ratings of peer influence, parental influence, relaxation in social situation, older siblings' influence and media advertising, but no significant effect of grade was found in girls' ratings with the exception of media advertising. Significant effect of smoking status was found in boys' ratings of every reason for taking up smoking, and for girls' ratings of every reason except curiosity, parental influence and rebelliousness. Effective prevention strategies encouraging non-smokers to fulfill such urges as curiosity, novelty- and enjoyment-seeking in ways other than by smoking, need to be developed and implemented.
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