Background: Tobacco use is the leading cause of noncommunicable disease morbidity and mortality. Most smokers initiate the smoking habit as adolescents or young adults.
Methods: Survey data from the 2007 Lusaka (Zambia) Global Youth Tobacco Survey were used to estimate the prevalence of current cigarette smoking and assess whether exposure to pro-tobacco media and perception of the potential harm of secondhand smoke are associated with adolescents' smoking. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the associations.
Results: Altogether, 2378 students, of whom 56.8% were females, participated in the study. Overall, 10.5% of the students (9.3% among males and 12.1% among females) smoked cigarettes in the 30 days prior to the survey. Students who favored banning smoking in public places were 33% (OR = 0.67; 95% CI [0.47, 0.96]) less likely to smoke cigarettes compared to those who were not in favor of the ban. Seeing actors smoking in TV shows, videos or movies was positively associated with smoking (OR = 1.90; 95% CI [1.26, 2.88]). However, possessing an item with a cigarette brand logo on it, seeing advertisements of cigarettes on billboards and being ever offered a free cigarette by a cigarette sales representative were negatively associated with smoking (OR=0.39, 95% CI [0.26, 0.58]; OR=0.63, 95% CI [0.43, 0.92]; and OR=0.43, 95% CI [0.29, 0.65], respectively).
Conclusion: Findings from this study indicate that TV advertisement-promotion-sponsorship was positively associated with smoking, while it was the opposite with other forms of advertisement; there is a need for further studies.