, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 271-284

A Six-Year Follow-Up Study of Determinants of Heavy Cigarette Smoking Among High-School Seniors

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Most adult cigarette smokers start smoking during adolescence. Few studies, however, have focused on adolescents that are heavy smokers. The present study examined how several risk and protective factors measured during early adolescence were associated with heavy smoking in a sample of high-school seniors. As part of a school-based survey, seventh-grade students (N=743) reported degrees of experimentation with psychoactive substances and several psychosocial factors deemed to be important in the etiology of smoking. Students were followed-up in the twelfth grade, when 12% (n=88) smoked a pack of cigarettes or more each day. Logistic regression analyses revealed that heavy smoking was predicted by several earlier variables: poor grades, experimentation with cigarettes or alcohol, a mother or many friends that smoked, and high risk-taking in the seventh grade. Antismoking attitudes and those of one's parents and friends predicted less later heavy smoking in girls only. Implications for smoking prevention are discussed.