Objective: To determine potential factors that may result in motivating the youths to adopt smoking behaviour.
Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 210 smoking and 217 non-smoking youths, aged 12-20 years.
Results: The average age of starting cigarette and water pipe smoking was 14.5 +/- 2.4 and 11.2 +/- 1.5 years, respectively. The first experience with water pipe occurred mostly in the traditional teahouses for girls (54.8%), and in family parties (48.2%) for boys. In both genders, the first place of cigarette smoking was at friends' parties (56.8% for boys, and 52.1% for girls) and then followed by traditional teahouses (43.2% for boys, and 47.9% for girls). The most common reasons youths have picked up cigarette smoking were mainly to attract attention from friends, family inattention and poverty. Meanwhile, nearly all water pipe smokers reported using it for fun. The strongest predictors of smoking among boys were respectively father's occupation, having a smoking mother, and the number of smoking peers, whereas among girls, these factors were respectively having a smoking mother, frequenting traditional teahouses, and the number of smoking peers. Lower education of fathers and divorce among parents increased the probability of smoking in both genders, especially girls. School/work failure, as well as troubled relationship with parents and siblings were the other significant predictors of smoking in both genders, notably in girls.
Conclusion: Public health control measures should be adopted not only to curtail cigarette use, but also to address water-pipe use. Preventive measures should be regarded as a high priority for socio-economically disadvantaged families.