Purpose: To examine predictors of smoking intentions among current adolescent nonsmokers and smokers as well as risk factors associated with smoking status.
Methods: Adolescents (N=237), ages 12 through 18 years, were asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed smoking behavior and variables thought to be related to smoking. Cognitive-motivational variables including perceived vulnerability and optimism, not previously examined in adolescent smoking studies, were also included.
Results: Parental smoking, higher perceived instrumental value, higher risk taking/rebelliousness, higher perceived vulnerability, and older age increased the odds of an adolescent being a smoker. Greater intentions to smoke among nonsmokers was best predicted by peer influences, less knowledge, and higher perceived instrumental value. Smokers with lower intentions to quit perceived greater instrumental value of smoking.
Conclusions: There are important distinctions between the factors that prompt intentions to smoke and to quit smoking. Smoking prevention/cessation programs will need to address specific factors that distinguish adolescents at varying stages of risk.