Predictors of smoking initiation among college-bound high school students

Won S. Choi, Kari Jo Harris, Kolawole Okuyemi, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia

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Smoking rates among college students is increasing, yet little is know about the development of students' smoking. This longitudinal analysis focuses on a national sample of high school students who were college students 4 years later (n = 1,479). SUDAAN statistical analysis procedures were used to weight and adjust for sampling design and nonresponse. Approximately 37% of the college students at follow-up who were never smokers at baseline had initiated smoking within the 4 years. Among experimenters at baseline, 25% had progressed their smoking behavior over the 4 years. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that there were different predictors of these two transitions among college students. Students who were more likely to initiate smoking were White, did not like school as much, and were more rebellious. Students who were more likely to progress from experimentation to a higher level of smoking thought peers approved of smoking and believed experimentation with smoking was safe. Several predictors of smoking initiation and progression during the transition from high school to college were identified that could be important components of interventions targeting high school and college-bound students. Increased efforts should be employed to include college students in national smoking prevention and cessation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this article was supported by Grant RPG–98–263– 01–PBP, funded by the American Cancer Society and by Grant 7KT–0091 funded by the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program to Won S. Choi; National Cancer Institute Grant K07 CA87714 to Kari Jo Harris; National Cancer Institute K07 CA90334 award to Kolawole Okuyemi; and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars award to Jasjit Ahluwalia, No. 032586.

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