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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To assess the prevalence of tobacco use among adolescents in Argentina and examine the influence of environment, smoking knowledge, beliefs and attitudes on smoking behavior.
Methods: In 2002, an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire was conducted among 8th grade primary school students and second year high-school students in a random sample of public schools stratified by location and socioeconomic status. Five mayor urban areas were included.
Results: Surveys were implemented in 239 schools and 11,734 students completed the survey. Overall, 51% were male, 44% were in the 12-14 age group and 56% were in the 15-18 age group. Household smoking was very prevalent and 70-80% of students lived with a smoker. Over 90% considered smoking to be unhealthy and almost 90% consider second-hand smoking to be unhealthy. One-third said they had not received adequate information regarding smoking. Fifty-nine percent had tried a cigarette and 31% of males and 36% of females were smokers at the time of the survey (24% among the 12-14 age group and 41% among the 15-18 age group). The most important reason to begin smoking was “to try” and 44% of students smoked when they are nervous. Sixty-seven percent said they would like to quit smoking. Overall, 85% of smokers had tried to quit smoking at least once; most had tried an average of 5 times. However, less than 8% had received professional help to quit. Results from this survey are being used to evaluate tobacco control strategies at the national level.