Jennifer O'Loughlin, a Professor at the University of Montreal School of Public Health (ESPUM), and her team analyzed data from a cohort study called "NDIT" (Nicotine Dependence in Teens), which began in 1999 in the Greater Montreal Area, in which nearly 1,300 young people aged 12-13 took part.
In this cohort, fully 75 percent tried smoking. Of these young people, 44 percent began smoking before high school; 43 percent began smoking during high school, and 14 percent began after high school.
Not all, however, continued smoking, but among the "late" smokers, the researchers found that smoking onset is associated with three risk factors: high levels of impulsivity, poor school performance, and higher alcohol consumption.
Explaining the three risk factors, O'Loughlin said that parents of impulsive children exercise tighter control when they are living with them at home to protect their children from adopting behaviours that can lead to smoking, and this protection may diminish over time
In addition, school difficulties increase the risk of becoming a smoker because they are related to dropping out of school and, seeking employment in workplaces where smoking rates are higher.
Finally, since young people are more likely to frequent places where they can consume alcohol, they are more prone to be influenced by smokers, or at least be more easily tempted.
The study is published in journal of Adolescent Health.
--ANI (Posted on 22-09-2013)