The numbers of smoker in Taiwan declined gradually in recent years; however, adolescent smoking is increasing. Most smokers admitted that for the first time they tried smoking was in their adolescence. To suppress smoking effectively, a new law was launched on January 11, 2009 by Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) namely Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (THPA). The objective of this study is to investigate the adolescent, who enrolled in Junior/Senior High Schools in Sinying City, for their smoking behavior, cognition and understanding of THPA, smoking attitude, tobacco hazards cognitive attitudes, and related issues about tobacco control.
Cross-sectional study was carried out by a structured questionnaire which was designed according to reviewing relevant literature references, Attitudes Towards Smoking Scale (ATS) and the Provisions of THPA. The survey was carried out in two junior and senior high schools in Sinying City. 538 questionnaires were issued and the valid ones were 528 (98.1%).
The results showed that 17.4% adolescents had smoking experience. Boys had significantly higher smoking rate than girls (26.7% vs. 6.6%, p<0.001). Smoking rate of junior high school students were higher than that of senior high (19.6 % vs.11.4%, p<0.05). The average age of initial smoking was 11.2 year-old. The main reason for smoking was curiosity. Up to 61.9% students were lived with smoking relatives, who were mostly their fathers.
Adolescents with smoking experience had more second hand smoke exposure than nonsmokers at home. Girls, Junior high school students, or nonsmokers were more positive in Smoking Attitude. Most students agreed that the implementation and effect of new THPA were fair, only 20.2% recognized as good. Smokers had lower cognition of THPA, poor knowledge of tobacco hazard, and were more negative in Smoking Attitude.
According to these results, tobacco control education for adolescent is highly required to prevent the persistence of smoking. Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act should be reinforced in elementary school since the experience of smoking was initiated under age 12.