Introduction: According to WHO, tobacco use kills more than 7 million people each year (WHO, 2015). Due to the difficulty in stopping smoking, preventing young people from starting to smoke is very importance in combating the tobacco epidemic. According to the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPA) behavioral intention is the strongest predictor of future behavior.
Objectives: We investigated the prevalence of tobacco consumption in a sample of adolescents and their intentions to smoke in the future. This study also attempted to identify the best predictors of future intentions to smoke.
Method: The sample consisted of 468 high school students aged between 11 and 15 years old (Mean age = 12.81; SD = 0.75; 49.4% girls).
Results: The results showed that 15 % of the participants had smoked at some times in their life, 6.7% were current tobacco smokers and 25.8% had the intention to consume, or continue consuming, in the future. The intention of future consumption was strongly related to current consumption (those who currently consume are more likely to have the intention of continuing consuming in the future), with the tobacco consumption of somebody at home (if there is a smoker at home they are more likely to have the intention to consume in the future) and with the perception of risk (those who perceive less risk from smoking were more likely to have the intention to consume in the future).
Conclusions: According to these results, actions should be taken to delay the age at which tobacco use is initiated, to raise awareness among parents of the importance of behavioral modeling and to increase the perceived risk of smoking among adolescents.
Audience Take Away:
Health professionals could take the following actions:
- To try to delay the age at which tobacco use begins.
- To raise awareness among parents of the importance of no smoking, to set a good example for their children.
- To increase the risk perceptions about smoking.