Prevalence and Factors Associated with Smoking Intentions among Non-smoking and Smoking Adolescents in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia


Intention to smoke is a valid and reliable factor for predicting future smoking habits among adolescents. Thisfactor, however, has received inadequate attention in Malaysia. The present paper elaborates the prevalenceand factors associated with intent to initiate or to cease smoking, among adolescent nonsmokers and smokers inKota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia. A total of 2,300 secondary school students aged 13-16 years were selected througha two-stage stratified sampling method. A set of standardized questionnaires was used to assess the smokingbehavior among adolescents and the inter-personal and intra-personal factors associated with smoking intention(intention to initiate smoking or to cease smoking). Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factorsrelated to smoking intention. The prevalence of intention to smoke in the future or to cease smoking among nonsmokingadolescents and current smokers were 10.7% and 61.7% respectively. Having friends who smoke, socialinfluence, and poor knowledge about the ill effects on health due to smoking showed significant relationshipswith intention to smoke in the future among non-smokers. Conversely, perceived lower prevalence of smokingamong peers, weak contributory social influence, and greater awareness of the ill effects of smoking are factorsassociated with the intention to cease smoking sometime in the future. The study found that prevalence ofintention to initiate smoking is low among non-smokers while the majority of current smokers intended to ceasesmoking in the future. Existing anti-smoking programmes that integrate the factors that have been identified inthe current study should be put in motion to reduce the prevalence of intention to initiate smoking and increasethe intention to cease smoking among adolescents.