BACKGROUND: Adolescent smokers are often unsuccessful in quitting and difficult to retain in cessation programs. In health promotion, focusing on the right target groups is essential. Aim. The aim was to examine if adolescent occasional smokers differ from daily smokers, and if possible differences could be useful for targeted smoking cessation programs. METHODS: Ninety-one percent of all teenagers attending junior high or high schools participated in a cross-sectional study, conducted in Nord-Trondelag County, Norway, 1995-1997, including 8,460 students 13-18 years old. Information on smoking habits, education, after school activities, and parents was obtained by self-administered questionnaires. RESULTS: Fifty-four percent of boys and 57% of girls had tried at least one cigarette. Of these, 36% of boys and 41% of girls were current smokers, half of whom reported occasional smoking. Students who had quit smoking had more often been occasional than daily smokers. Compared to daily smokers, occasional smokers participated in higher academic courses, were more engaged in organized activities and sports, had been drunk less often, and had better family role models. CONCLUSION: Differences support potential utility of focusing on occasional smokers as a special target group in smoking cessation programs.
- Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi