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Pac Health Dialog. 2004 Sep;11(2):107-13.

Smoking rates and risk factors among youth in the Republic of the Marshall Islands: results of a school survey.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai'i, USA. tchen@uhfpres.org


Rapidly increasing tobacco use in developing countries will result in a large and increasing burden of tobacco-related illnesses as their populations age. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is an island nation in the Pacific with a 1999 census population of 50,840, of whom more than fifty percent were under twenty years of age. There are limited data on the prevalence of smoking among youth in the RMI. A school survey of 3,294 RMI students in grades 5 through 12 was conducted in 2000. Urban and outer atoll schools were included in the sample. Demographic data and information on tobacco use and risk factors were collected. The overall smoking rate in this school sample was 10.6%. There were significantly higher smoking rates in the high school age group; the rate of smoking among 18 year olds was 33.5%. Smoking rates were higher among males compared to females (18.7% vs. 3.4%) and higher among outer atoll students compared to urban students (14.5% vs. 9.4%). The most prominent risk factors for smoking were: age, male gender, receiving or wearing tobacco-labeled equipment or clothing and willingness to participate in other high-risk behaviors. The survey provides an estimate of smoking rates among Marshallese school students and identifies and quantifies significant risk factors for smoking. This information can assist in guiding a comprehensive tobacco control strategy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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