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Health Educ Res. 2009 Feb;24(1):105-18. doi: 10.1093/her/cyn002. Epub 2008 Feb 16.

Psychosocial correlates of cigarette smoking among college students in China.

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Institute of Mental Health, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.


The objectives are to examine the smoking practice and intention among Chinese college students and to explore the association between cigarette smoking and individual and psychosocial factors. Cross-sectional data were collected from 1874 students from 19 college campuses in Jiangsu province, China. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the associations of smoking practice and smoking intention with various individual and psychosocial factors. There was a significant gender difference in both smoking practice and smoking intention. Overall, 53% of the participants (70% male and 31% female) reported ever having smoked in their lifetime and 29% of the sample (49% male and 5% female) reported having smoked in the past 30 days. About one-fourth of the sample (44% male and 6% female) thought they were likely to smoke in the next 6 months. Male gender, low family socioeconomic status, perception of more peer smoking, more perceived benefits of smoking, higher level of pro-smoking attitude, higher level of perceived cost of non-smoking and more involvement in other health risk were positively associated with being a past or current smoker. Likewise, male gender, older age, more friends smoking, greater perceived benefits of smoking, higher pro-smoking attitudes and more health risk involvement were associated with the likelihood to smoke in the next 6 months. The data suggest a substantial smoking experimentation among college students in China, which presents both a challenge and an opportunity to prevent a large proportion of experimenters from progressing to regular smokers. The findings in the current study can be used to inform the development of effective smoking intervention prevention programs among college students in China.

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