Smoking behaviours and contextual influences on adolescent nicotine dependence

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2010 Oct;34(5):502-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2010.00597.x.


Objective: The objectives of the study were to analyse nicotine-dependence patterns among secondary school students in New Zealand (NZ), and identify factors associated with levels of nicotine dependence.

Method: This study uses data from the 2004 Youth Lifestyle Study, a survey of Year 10 and 12 students from randomly selected schools in NZ. The analysis included 625 current adolescent smokers. Nicotine dependence was measured with the Hooked on Nicotine Checklist (HONC). Potential dependence-associated factors studied include: socio-demographic factors; smoking behaviours; and smoking contexts.

Results: A large percentage (87.9%) of the current adolescent smokers reported at least one HONC symptom, with a mean HONC score of 4.9 out of a possible 10. Multivariate analyses identified: school decile; age at which started smoking monthly; lifetime cigarette consumption; and peers smoking as statistically significant predictors of nicotine dependence.

Conclusions: Adolescent smokers are very likely to become dependent on nicotine. Students from the highest school decile had markedly lower HONC scores. Earlier onset of monthly smoking, heavier overall consumption and peers smoking were associated with higher HONC scores. These findings provide important insights into factors that may need to be modified to help reduce nicotine dependence among adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Age of Onset
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Zealand
  • Schools
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*