TitleTeens in Trouble: Cigarette Use and Risky Behaviors among Private, High School Students in La Paz, Bolivia
AuthorsDearden K. A., Crookston B. T., De La Cruz N. G., Lindsay G. B., Bowden A., Carlston L., Gardner P.
PublicationRev Panam Salud Publica. 2007 Dec; 22(3):160-8.
AbstractOBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence of cigarette smoking and to identify risky behaviors associated with smoking among adolescents attending high schools in a district of La Paz, Bolivia. METHODS: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered to a sample of 394 males and 182 females, from 13-18 years of age, at six, randomly-selected schools in District II of La Paz. Frequencies, chi-square tests, and logistic regression were employed to identify factors associated with cigarette use during the 30 days prior to the survey. RESULTS: Approximately 40% of the sample (39.4% of males and 33.7% of females) had smoked cigarettes in the 30 days prior to interview. For both males and females, consumption of alcohol was the single greatest risk factor associated with cigarette use. The males and females who reported consuming at least one alcoholic beverage on three or more occasions in the previous 30 days were 22.3 and 58.5 times (95% CIs: 6.7, 74.1 and 6.8, 502.6, respectively) more likely to smoke tobacco than those who reported no alcohol consumption. Additional risk factors included having participated in a physical fight, having carried a weapon, having had sexual intercourse, and having used illicit drugs during the previous 30 days. CONCLUSIONS: Because teenagers who smoke are also likely to engage in a variety of other risky behaviors, parents, school administrators, and health educators may wish to use smoking to identify at-risk individuals. Among Bolivian teenagers, interventions should focus on preventing cigarette use and associated risk behaviors.