Objective: To identify determinants of cigarette smoking initiation, by gender, among schoolchildren in Irbid, Jordan.
Methods: Between 2008 and 2011, data were collected annually using self-reported questionnaires over 4-years in a prospective cohort of 1,781 students recruited from all 7th grade classes in 19 secondary schools, selected out of a total 60, using probability-proportionate-to-size method. Independent predictors of smoking initiation were identified among the cigarette naïve participants (N = 1,454) with mixed-effect multivariable logistic regression.
Results: Participants were 12.6 years of age on average at baseline. 29.8% of the 1,454 students (37.2% of boys and 23.7% of girls) initiated cigarette smoking by 10th grade. Of those who initiated (n = 498), 47.2% of boys and 37.2% of girls initiated smoking in the 8th grade. Determinants of cigarette smoking initiation included ever smoking a waterpipe, low cigarette refusal self-efficacy, intention to start smoking cigarettes, and having friends who smoked. For girls, familial smoking was also predictive of cigarette initiation.
Conclusion: This study shows that many Jordanian youth have an intention to initiate cigarette smoking and are susceptible to cigarette smoking modeled by peers and that girls are influenced as well by familial cigarette smoking. Prevention efforts should be tailored to address culturally relevant gender norms, help strengthen adolescents' self-efficacy to refuse cigarettes, and foster strong non-smoking social norms.
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