A new study out of Montreal looked at factors to predict which teens were most likely to start smoking. The study from 1999 to present asked 1,294 12- and 13-year-olds a series of questions:
Do any of the people whom you usually hang out with smoke cigarettes?
When you see other kids your age smoking cigarettes, is it difficult for you not to smoke?
Do you sometimes feel like you really need a cigarette?
Did you drink any alcohol (beer, wine or hard liquor) in the past 3 months?
In the past 3 months, have you...
● been worried or stressed about loneliness?
● been worried or stressed about your weight?
● been worried or stressed about your relationship with your brother(s) or sister(s)?
● been worried or stressed about a health problem?
● felt hopeless about the future?
● think of yourself as someone who has something valuable to offer, at least as much as other people do?
● have a positive attitude towards yourself?
The authors of the study are encouraging pediatricians to ask these same questions. About 16 percent of the study participants became smokers and if they answered yes to the tobacco and beer questions, and yes to the worry questions, but no to the two self-esteem questions, they were more likely to be among that 16 percent.
The study will be published in the November issue of "Pediatrics."