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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


ABREU, Mery Natali Silva  and  CAIAFFA, Waleska Teixeira. Influence of family environment and social group on smoking among Brazilian youth aged 15 to 24 years. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.30, n.1, pp.22-30. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of smoking among Brazilian youth, examining individual, family, and social group factors associated with this habit. METHODS: Data from youth aged 15 to 24 years living in 17 Brazilian state capitals and the Federal District, obtained from the Household Survey on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases and Reported Morbidity carried out in 2002 and 2003 by the National Cancer Institute was analyzed. Individual variables (sex, age, schooling, alcohol consumption, self-rated health, physical activity, current school attendance), family variables (age and education of head of household and father, mother, or sibling smoking), and social group variables (best friend smoking, most friends smoking, boyfriend/girlfriend smoking) were analyzed. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) approach to evaluate the factors associated with smoking were used. RESULTS: Considering the effect of the sampling design, smoking prevalence was 12.8%, ranging from 6.8% in Aracaju to 24.1% in Porto Alegre. The following factors were predictors of smoking: male sex, older age, less schooling, not attending school at the time of the survey, poorer health perception, and alcohol consumption. Peer smoking (friends or boyfriend/girlfriend) and smoking among family members (father/mother or sibling) were associated with smoking. There was an effect of parental birth cohort on smoking, with a higher prevalence of smoking among youth whose parents were born in the 1930s. CONCLUSIONS: Individual characteristics and the influence of peers and family were relevant for smoking by the youth. Increasing the dialogue among teenagers, school, schoolmates, friends, and parents could lead to a reduction of substance use among youth.

Keywords : Smoking; adolescent; young adult; family characteristics; social behavior; Brazil.

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