Tobacco smoking among school children in Colombo district, Sri Lanka.
Katulanda P., Liyanage IK., Wickramasinghe K., Piyadigama I., Karunathilake IM., Palmer PH., Matthews DR.
Tobacco smoking is an important problem among schoolchildren. The authors studied the patterns of tobacco smoking among schoolchildren in Colombo, Sri Lanka, using a self-administered questionnaire. Multistaged stratified random sampling was used to select 6000 students. Response rate was 90.7% (5446), out of which 53.4% were males. Prevalence rates for males and females, respectively, were as follows: having smoked at least 1 complete cigarette: 27.0% and 13.3%, smoked more than 100 cigarettes: 2.3% and 0.3%, daily smoking: 1.8% and 0.2%. Mean age of starting to smoke was 14.16 years. The tobacco products most used were cigarettes (91.5%) and bidis (3.8%). In univariate analysis, male gender, parental smoking, studying non-science subjects, peer smoking, and participating in sports were significantly associated with smoking of at least 1 complete cigarette (P < .05). In multivariate analysis, the most significant correlates were having close friends (odds ratio = 3.29, confidence interval = 2.47-4.37) or parents who smoked (odds ratio = 1.86, confidence interval = 1.28-2.71). Female smoking has increased from previously reported values. These high-risk groups can be targets for preventive programs.