Smoking among Nepali Youth - Prevalence and Predictor


Tobacco is the single largest risk factor for various diseases and its presence in the young heralds moreserious problems as they may be exposed for longer periods. Prevalence and predictors of smoking among youthwill aid in formulating effective preventive and control measures. A cross-sectional study was therefore conductedamong 816 students selected from five colleges of Western Nepal using a self-administered questionnaire.Prevalence of ever smoking was 34.2% (males 47.6% and females 18.4%) and for current smoking was 17%. Itwas higher among youth belonging to 21 years or older as compared to younger age groups. Mean age of initiationwas 16.8 years (standard deviation 2.8 years) and the most common reasons cited for smoking were; like it, tofeel more relaxed, out of boredom and to look more mature. Proportion of youth who said they felt they wereaddicted was 43.1% and 64.7% said that they had tried to quit the habit. Most important predictors havingindependent effects on youth being ever smokers were having three or more smoker friends (OR=18), their ownchewing (OR=4.8) or alcohol use (OR=4.2), male gender (OR=3.65) and the type of course they were pursuing,with professional course students having higher risk. With almost one fifth of college-going youth smoking anda higher prevalence in older age groups within them, smoking is a serious concern for young people in WesternNepal.