BACKGROUND: There are limited studies that have explored smoking predictors among Ugandan adolescents over time. This study investigated factors influencing smoking among Ugandan adolescents between 2007 and 2011.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study using secondary data from 2007 and 2011 Ugandan Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (n=7,505). Data analysis included chi-square and multivariate logistic regression. The level of statistical significance was set at p< 0.05.
RESULTS: Of the participants, 49.9% (n=3,746) were smokers. Over time, there was a reduction in the prevalence of smoking among boys (10.8% vs. 6.1%; p=0.01), but not among girls (5.0% vs. 4.8%; p=0.48). After controlling for potential confounders, having both parents smoking (OR=7.52; 95%CI: 1.23-45.91), close friends smoking (OR= 6.59, 95%CI: 3.70-11.74) and exposure to second-hand smoke at home (OR= 3.69, 95%CI: 2.0-6.74) were associated with increased odds of smoking among all Ugandan adolescents.
CONCLUSION: Given the observed gender differences in smoking trends, it is recommended that more attention be given to motivating adolescent girls not to take up smoking or, for those who have already started smoking, to quit. Furthermore, in addition to greater enforcement of the ban in public smoking, there is a need for public education to promote the voluntary adoption of smoke-free homes.