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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


VALDIVIA C, Gonzalo et al. Smoking habit in school age children, in Chile. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2004, vol.132, n.2, pp.171-182. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: In Chile, there is no information about the prevalence of smoking among basic and high school students. Aim: To study the prevalence of smoking among school age population. Material and Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted during 2001, assessing tobacco use and smoking habit in a representative sample of 15.119 randomly selected students. Results: Sixty four percent of students had smoked at least once in their lifetime. Eighteen percent of students smoked daily and 15%, occasionally. The figures for women were higher (19 and 18% respectively). The mean age for the first contact with smoking was 12.3 years and, for starting the smoking habit, 13.2 years. Smokers increased the amount of cigarettes during weekends. Higher prevalence rates of smoking were observed in students from the Southern region of the country and of lower socioeconomic levels. From the 3rd grade on, there is an increased risk of having contact with tobacco and smoking for the first time and from 6th grade on, this risk becomes permanent. The adjusted Odds Ratio to be a smoker is significantly higher when the mother is a current or irregular smoker (OR 1.9 95 CI; 1.7-2.0). Conclusions: High smoking prevalence rates were detected in this survey, mainly in women. The risk for smoking starts early during school life. Therefore, health promotion programs must include elementary and high school students (Rev Méd Chile 2004; 132: 171-82)

Palabras clave : Adolescent behavior; Data collection; Smoking.

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