RESEARCH – November 2008

Smoking among schoolchildren in Estonia 1993/1994–2005/2006: analysis of international survey on the health behaviour of school-aged children


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AIM. The present study describes smoking among Estonian schoolchildren in 1993/1994–2005/2006. The objectives were to describe cigarette smoking during the study period, to describe waterpipe smoking and to examine the association between cigarette and waterpipe smoking in the last study year.
METHODS. This study was based on international survey of health behaviour among school-aged children (HBSC study) conducted in 1993/1994, 1997/1998, 2001/2002 and 2005/2006 in Estonia. The target group of the survey were 11-, 13-, and 15-year-old schoolchildren (n=13826), 6656 boys and 7170 girls. Cigarette smoking and waterpipe smoking were determined on a 4-stage scale: every day, at least once a week, less than once a week, not smoking. Logistic regression analysis was applied to assess the associations between cigarette smoking and  survey year and between cigarette smoking and waterpipe smoking.
RESULTS. The present study confirms that the prevalence of smoking increased in 1993/1994–2001/2002 and decreased slightly thereafter. The increase in the prevalence of smoking was higher among girls. Among 15- year-old schoolchildren one-third of the boys and one-quarter of the girls were smokers; 21% of boys and 12% of girls were daily smokers in 2005/2006. One-fourth of the boys and one-sixth of the girls were waterpipe smokers. Logistic regression analysis revealed strong association between cigarette smoking and waterpipe smoking among schoolchildren. CONCLUSION. In conclusion, to reduce cigarette smoking and waterpipe smoking among schoolchildren in Estonia, evidence based health promotion policy and practice should be directed towards addressing specifi c risk groups.