OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and determinants of cigarette smoking among intermediate (junior secondary) schoolboys in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 1382 students (ages 12-19 years) in 45 classes randomly selected from 15 schools, using a two-stage stratified cluster sampling scheme. DESIGN: Students in the selected classes were requested to complete an anonymous questionnaire, under the supervision of trained interviewers. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses of potential risk factors were performed. SETTING: Intermediate schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Association between current smoking and socio-demographic variables, history of smoking, age of smoking initiation, smoking behaviour among family members, knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking, and whether smoking is allowed in the presence of relatives and acquaintances. RESULTS: The prevalence of current smokers was 13.2% overall, ranging from 3.2% in those 12-13 years old to 31.1% in those aged 18-19. Some of the variables (nationality, father's education, and smoking allowed in the presence of parents or teachers) found to be associated with current smoking in a univariate analysis were no longer significantly associated with smoking in the multivariate analysis. By multivariate analysis, knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking, age, smoking allowed in the presence of friends or brothers, and previous smoking were statistically significant determinants of current smoking. CONCLUSIONS: Current health education activities against smoking should be continued and extended to the young population to further reduce the prevalence of smoking and its health consequences. Religious antipathy toward smoking should be emphasised in any local anti-smoking campaigns.
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