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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: in this article, we examined the gender-specific relationships of age of initiation to smoking cessation, regardless of selected variables. Smoking initiation prevention and smoking cessation strategies summarize in themselves not only cognitive-behavioral approaches, but also individual susceptibility and established nicotine dependence
Methods: Data were derived from a cross-sectional population-based random sample and collected by means of household interviews; all individuals aged 15 years and older were eligible to participate. A linear regression model was used to examine the association of age of initiation with prevalence of former smokers among ever smokers, adjusted for age, educational level, average daily consumption of cigarettes, region, and physical activity. Age of initiation was classified as 9-15 years old (“earlier”), or older than 15 years (“later”).
Results: Information on smoking status and age of initiation was available for 8059 individuals. The total number of former and current smokers were: in men, 2123 and 2208, respectively; and in women, 1790 and 1938. The unadjusted absolute difference in prevalence of former smokers between “earlier” and “later” for women was -43.3% (prevalence rates, 17.7% and 60.0%, respectively); for men, the unadjusted difference was -44.7% (prevalence rates, 16.2% and 60.9%, respectively). Adjusted differences confirmed above cited absolute differences: in women, -38.8% (p value<0.001); in men, -36.0% (p value<0.001). Notwithstanding the possibility of cross-sectional biases and cohort effect, the present study's findings suggest that individuals who initiate smoking before age 16 years are less likely to quit smoking.