The purpose of this study was to explore school and individual characteristics associated with smoking susceptibility among a nationally representative sample of Canadian youth who were never-smokers.
Using data from the 2006-07 Youth Smoking Survey, multi-level logistic regression modeling was used to examine if student-level and school-level characteristics were associated with smoking susceptibility among grade 9 to 12 never-smokers.
In 2006, 88.2% of Canadian youth in grades 9 to 12 were considered never-smokers, of whom 28.2% (n=255,840) were considered to be susceptible to future smoking. Significant between-school random variation in smoking susceptibility was identified, although the school-level smoking rate was not significantly associated with the risk of an individual student being susceptible. At the student level, smoking susceptibility was associated with having a sibling who smokes, having 1 or 2 close friends who smoke, having ever used alcohol or marijuana, being female and being in grade 9. Parental smoking and exposure to smoking in a car or in the home were not significantly associated with smoking susceptibility.
One way to prevent smoking onset among youth is to interfere with the development of susceptibility to smoking in non-smoking youth population. We found that over 1 in 4 Canadian youth who were never-smokers in 2006 were considered susceptible to smoking in the future. Ongoing tobacco control prevention initiatives are crucial for reducing the prevalence of smoking susceptibility among non-smoking Canadian youth.