Are Adolescents likely to Start Smoking Early if Their Parents are Smokers? A Study of Jamaican High School Students

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

2 Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

3 Department of General Studies and Behavioural Sciences, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kingston, Jamaica

4 Department of Medicine, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria

5 College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Abstract

Background: The prevalence of cigarette smoking is high among adolescents in the Caribbean, including Jamaica.
Age of initiation of cigarette smoking varies among adolescents. A number of factors has been reported to influence
early age of initiation of cigarette smoking. The aim of this study was to determine if parental smoking status was
associated with early age of onset of cigarette smoking among Jamaican adolescents. Methods: Data from the Jamaican
National School Survey (NSS) conducted in 2013 were analysed. The nationally representative sample comprised
of 3,365 students enrolled in 8th grade to 12th grade in 38 public and private secondary schools. Descriptive and
inferential statistics were computed using SPSS. Results: The mean age of initiation of cigarette smoking among the
subjects was 12.4years [SD: 2.69]. There was no significant association between parental cigarette smoking status and
the age of initiation of cigarette smoking among the adolescents (female X2 = 0.753, P = 0.861; male X2 = 6.953, P =
0.073). Logistic regression analysis showed that parental smoking status was not a predictor of early age of initiation
of cigarette smoking among the adolescents (father/ guardian AOR= 0.81, 95% CI= 0.56- 1.11; mother/guardian AOR=
0.96, 95% CI= 0.44 – 2.10; both parent AOR= 0.49, 95%CI= 0.22- 1.07). However, having a parent with secondary
education was a risk factor for early initiation of smoking (AOR= 1.71, 95%CI= 1.13-2.57), while being in 8th
grade was a protective factor against early age of initiation of cigarette smoking (AOR= 0.43, 95% CI= 0.23 - 0.80).
Conclusion: Parental smoking cigarette smoking status was not a predictor of early age of cigarette smoking initiation
among Jamaican adolescents.

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