Introduction: Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. There are limited data on the prevalence of and factors associated with smoking among in-school adolescents in developing countries.
Objectives: To estimate prevalence of those who have smoked cigarettes and to identify associated socio-demographic factors among adolescents in Chongwe district, Chongwe [corrected] Province, Zambia.
Methods: Data used was from the Zambia Global Youth Tobacco Survey, which was conducted using standardized methodology among in-school adolescents in 2002. Data were analyzed to assess if selected socio-demographic variables were associated with having smoked cigarettes. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to assess the associations.
Results: A history of having smoked cigarettes ranged from 20.5% among 15 year olds to 37.2% among males younger than 12 years old. In females, 20.7% of 13 year olds and 37.7% of those less than 12 years old had smoked. Parental smoking, friends smoking, a lack of perception that smoking was harmful, and exposure to pro-tobacco advertisements were associated with having smoked cigarettes. Adolescents who had smoked cigarettes were more likely to allow others smoke in their presence.
Conclusions: Many adolescents in rural Chongwe[corrected], Zambia had tried cigarette smoking. The identification of predictors for smoking should guide the design and implementation of programs aimed to prevent initiation and maintenance of tobacco use among adolescents.