Why do adults start smoking?

The risk of becoming a smoker among young people who have never smoked is high: 14% of smokers will be between the ages of 16 and 24, and the three factors to predict this behavior.

images (1)“The beginning of smoking is also occurring among young people, and particularly among those who are impulsive, have poor grades , or who drink alcohol regularly ,” says Jennifer O’Loughlin , a professor of the University of Montreal School of Public Health (ESPUM) and author izzhurnala health adolescents are published in August. O’Loughlin says smoking prevention campaigns should also target young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

A recent phenomenon

Since smoking is reduced markedly in the past three decades, researchers have presented several studies that the tobacco industry is increasing its efforts to reach out to young people.

In the United States, there is a 60 % increase in the number of young people who start smoking after high school.

This trend has prompted O’Loughlin and her team at ESPUM identifies predictors of young people start smoking, which can lead to opportunities for prevention.

They analyzed data from a cohort study «NdIt” (nicotine dependence in adolescents), which began in 1999 in the Greater Montreal Area, in which nearly 1,300 young people aged 12-15 years participated.

In this cohort, fully 75 % had tried smoking. Of these young people, 40 % started smoking before high school, 44 % started smoking during high school, and 17 % started after high school.

Not everyone, however, continued to smoke, but among the “late” smokers, the researchers found that smoking is associated with the beginning of three risk factors: high levels of impulsivity, poor school performance, and higher alcohol consumption.

Explaining the three risk factors

Some smokers showed greater impulsivity end compared to other participants in the study. According to O’Loughlin, it is possible that impulsivity more freely expressed when one becomes an adult, because the parents are no longer there to control. “We can say that the parents of children impulsive exercise more control when they are living with them at home to protect their children from the adoption of behaviors that may lead to smoking, and this protection may wane over time,” she explains.

In addition, school difficulties increase the risk of becoming a smoker, because they are associated with dropping out of school and looking for work in workplaces where smoking rates are higher.

Finally, as young people are likely to frequent places where they can drink alcohol, they are more likely to be influenced by smoking, or at least more easily tempted. “Since alcohol lowers inhibitions and self-control, it is an important risk factor for smoking initiation,” warns O’Loughlin.

On targeted prevention campaigns

Smoking prevention campaigns usually target teens because studies show that people usually start smoking at the age of 14 or 15. This phenomenon is well known, and many prevention programs targeted at adolescents.

“Our research shows that it is also important to address prevention among young people, especially because the tobacco companies’ advertising campaigns of this particular group,” said O’Loughlin.

“This is especially important because, if we can prevent the onset of smoking among young people, the probability that they would never smokers is high, ” she says.

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