Predictors of the transition to regular smoking during adolescence and young adulthood

J Adolesc Health. 2003 Apr;32(4):314-24. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(02)00709-7.


Purpose: To identify predictors of the transition from experimentation to regular smoking in middle adolescence, late adolescence, and young adulthood.

Methods: California and Oregon students completed self-report surveys assessing the following potential predictors of the transition to regular smoking from grades 8 to 10 (n = 2,496), grades 10 to 12 (n = 2,149), and grade 12 to age 23 years (n = 1,534): demographic characteristics; smoking-related attitudes, behaviors and environment; other problem behaviors; academic orientation; parental bonding; and mental health. Huberized regression techniques, which adjust for weighting and clustering of observations, were used to determine the independent associations of the predictor variables on subsequent smoking status.

Results: Risk factors for the transition to regular smoking during middle adolescence included being white, prosmoking attitudes, friend smoking, weak academic orientation, and less parental support. During late adolescence, being African-American was protective, whereas risk factors included prosmoking attitudes, drinking, non-intact nuclear family, and less parental support. Risk factors in young adulthood included younger age and prosmoking attitudes.

Conclusions: Results point to several smoking-related attitudes, social influences, and behaviors that prevention efforts may target to curb the escalation of smoking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Attitude to Health*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires