Objective: To examine whether sociodemographic factors and health risk and problem behaviors explain the prevalence of cigarette smoking among US adolescents.
Design: Probability survey.
Participants: A nationally representative sample of US adolescents.
Main outcome measures: Weighted prevalence, adjusted odds ratio (OR), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for current smoking status by health risk and problem behaviors.
Results: The prevalence of smoking was highest among adolescents who were white, older, and who had a high school education or lived in the Northeast. When we adjusted for sociodemographic factors and health risk and problem behaviors, smoking was associated with marijuana use (OR, 3.7; 95% CI, 2.7-5.1), binge drinking (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.6-2.8), and fighting (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-1.7) among white adolescent males. Similar associations between each of these 3 behaviors and cigarette smoking were found among white adolescent females and African American and Hispanic adolescent males and females. Cigarette smoking was also associated with using smokeless tobacco, having multiple sexual partners, and not using bicycle helmets among white adolescent males and females, having multiple sexual partners among Hispanic adolescent females, and carrying weapons among Hispanic adolescent males.
Conclusions: Marijuana use, binge drinking, and fighting are correlates of cigarette smoking among US adolescents. These associations, which vary by sex and race or ethnicity, suggest clustering to form a risk behavior syndrome.