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Addict Behav. 2009 Dec;34(12):1010-6. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.06.010. Epub 2009 Jul 5.

Non-smoking youths' "perceived" addiction to tobacco is associated with their susceptibility to future smoking.

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BC Centre of Excellence for Women's Health and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Smoking initiation places adolescents at risk for adult onset diseases, including heart disease, respiratory illness, and cancer. Adolescents that smoke have levels of 'perceived' tobacco addiction that are associated with several measures of nicotine dependence. Nonsmoking adolescents also report feeling addicted to tobacco even with minimal or no prior tobacco use, suggesting some vulnerability to tobacco use. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between perceived tobacco addiction and smoking susceptibility among adolescents with very minimal tobacco use. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted of data obtained from 5155 nonsmokers who completed the British Columbia Youth Survey of Smoking and Health II, a school-based survey conducted during 2004. Measures included demographics, tobacco use (ever puffed a cigarette), substance use (marijuana and alcohol), exposure to family members' smoking in the home, peers' tobacco use, depressive symptoms, perceived physical and mental addiction to tobacco, and smoking susceptibility. The adolescents who were most susceptible to smoking were female, younger and in a lower school grade; had ever puffed a cigarette, had used alcohol or marijuana; had family members or peers who smoked; had higher depression scores, and higher perceived physical and mental addiction to tobacco. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, perceived mental addiction but not perceived physical addiction to tobacco was significantly associated with smoking susceptibility. Understanding factors associated with smoking initiation, and ways to identify "at- risk" adolescents can enhance early intervention and prevention programs. Perceived mental addiction to tobacco appears to be an important indicator of smoking susceptibility.

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