The prevalence of cigarette smoking among school pupils staying at summer camps
Abstract:SETTING: The prevalence of cigarette smoking in Poland is one of the highest in Europe.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the frequency of smoking among Polish pupils during a school year and the summer holidays.
DESIGN: A questionnaire including personal and demographic data and information on smoking behaviour was distributed among 598 school pupils: 357 girls and 241 boys aged 8–19 years, with a mean age of 14.4.
RESULTS: Among the entire group of school pupils, 18.6% were cigarette smokers. Half of the smokers smoked occasionally and the remainder smoked every day; of these, 9.9% smoked more than 10 cigarettes daily. The frequency of smoking among these teenagers increased with age. The average age of smoking initiation was 13 years for boys and 15 years for girls. The majority smoked more during the summer holidays than during the school year. The most frequently reported reasons for increasing cigarette smoking during the summer holidays were: feeling more free, having more money to spend, the influence of new friends, and smoking to pass the time when they felt bored.
CONCLUSION: Young people in this study still started smoking early, most frequently between the ages of 13 and 15. High rates of daily smokers among teenagers were observed. In some groups of teenagers the summer holidays may be a time of increased cigarette smoking.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: 2000-11-01
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