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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 22;8(8):e73048. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073048. eCollection 2013.

Smoking experimentation among elementary school students in China: influences from peers, families, and the school environment.

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Department of Global Health, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.


The aim of this study was to investigate experimentation with smoking among primary school students in China. Data were acquired from a recent survey of 4,073 students in grades 4 to 6 (ages 9-12) in 11 primary schools of Ningbo City. The questions were adapted from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS). Results suggest that although the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) encourages smoke-free schools, experimentation with cigarettes remains a serious problem among primary school students in China. Peers, family members, and the school environment play important roles in influencing smoking experimentation among students. Having a friend who smoked, seeing a family member smoke, and observing a teacher smoking on campus predicted a higher risk of experimentation with smoking; the exposure to anti-tobacco materials at school predicted a lower risk of experimentation with smoking. The evidence suggests that public health practitioners and policymakers should seek to ensure the implementation of smoke-free policies and that intervention should target young people, families, and communities to curb the commencement of smoking among children and adolescents in China.

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