Do social characteristics influence smoking uptake and cessation during young adulthood?

  • Madeleine Steinmetz-Wood
  • Thierry Gagné
  • Marie-Pierre Sylvestre
  • Katherine Frohlich
Original Article



This study uses a Bourdieusian approach to assess young adults’ resources and examines their association with smoking initiation and cessation.


Data were drawn from 1450 young adults participating in the Interdisciplinary Study of Inequalities in Smoking, a cohort study in Montreal, Canada. We used logistic regression models to examine the association between young adults’ income, education, and peer smoking at baseline and smoking onset and cessation.


Young adults where most or all of their friends smoked had greater odds of smoking onset. Young adults that had completed pre-university postsecondary education also had higher odds of smoking onset after controlling for social support, employment status, and lacking money to pay for expenses. Income and the sociodemographic variables age and sex were not associated with smoking onset. Young adults where half of their friends smoked or where most to all of their friends smoked had lowers odds of smoking cessation. Men were more likely to cease smoking than women. Education, income and age were not associated with cessation.


Interventions focusing on peer smoking may present promising avenues for tobacco prevention in young adults.


Young adults Smoking Smoking onset Cessation Social characteristics Bourdieu 

Supplementary material

38_2017_1044_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Département de médecine sociale et préventiveÉcole de Santé Publique de l’Université de Montréal (ESPUM), Université de MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique (IRSPUM), Université de MontréalMontréalCanada

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