Print version ISSN 0120-4157
Introduction. The consumption of tobacco is a public health problem around the world. In Colombia, each year approximately 17,000 deaths are attributed to smoking. The monitoring of tobacco consumption is necessary to estimate population risk for chronic diseases and cancer. Objective. The prevalence of smoking was estimated and factors assessed that influence the use of tobacco among youths. Materials and methods. The survey was implemented by the Colombian National Cancer Institute in 2007, in public and private schools located in 5 cities in Colombia. The survey was anonymous, voluntary and self-processed by students 13 to 15 years of age and the participants selected by a multi-stage sampling process. Statistical analysis was performed with SUDAAN software. Differences in proportions were considered statistically significant at the p<0.05 level. Results. The average age of onset for tobacco consumption in the five cities was 11.9 years. The prevalence of cigarette smoking varied between 7.4% and 34.1% among the cities and susceptibility to initiate smoking among non smokers was between 12.3% to 32.0%. Between 40% and 60% of students were exposed to secondhand smoke in public places. Approximately 70% were exposed to indirect tobacco advertising. Between 40% and 69% of students who currently smoke cigarettes reported that they wanted to stop smoking. Approximately 80% of students who currently smoke cigarettes were not refused when they purchased cigarettes in a store or supermarket. Finally, 34% to 54% of students reported having been taught in school about the harmful effects of smoking. Conclusions. The high prevalence of consumption in four of the five cities suggested interventions that aim primarily at prevention components, smoke-free spaces and advertising control.
Keywords : Tobacco; adolescent; risk factors; epidemiologic surveillance; Colombia.