Worldwide Never-Smoking Youth Susceptibility to Smoking

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To estimate susceptibility to smoking among never-smoking youth globally and identify factors associated with such behavior.


Cross-sectional data for 168 countries were obtained from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. Simple and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted. Frequencies and proportions for descriptive statistics, and adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals for logistic regression models were reported.


Approximately 12.5% of never-smoking youth worldwide were susceptible to smoking worldwide, of which 7.2% were males and 5.3% were females. Compared with youth in the Americas, those in other WHO regions were associated with decreased susceptibility to smoking. Regardless of gender, exposure to parental or peer smoking, secondhand smoke inside or outside home, and tobacco industry promotion was associated with increased smoking susceptibility. In contrast, support for smoke-free policies and school antismoking education was associated with decreased susceptibility to smoking among females. Moreover, exposure to antismoking media messages was associated with increased susceptibility to smoking among never-smoking youth.


Approximately 1 in 8 never-smoking youth worldwide was found to be susceptible to smoking. A comprehensive approach involving parental and peer education, smoke-free policies, ban on tobacco advertising and promotions, and antismoking education in schools should be developed by policy makers and public health professionals to protect never-smoking youth from being susceptible to smoking and transforming into future regular smokers.