Changes in smoking behaviors from late childhood to adolescence: Insights from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth.
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OBJECTIVE: To examine smoking behaviors in Canadian youth from late childhood to adolescence. By following participants from as young as 10 and 11 years, the authors proposed to identify distinct developmental pathways of smoking acquisition. DESIGN: Growth mixture modeling was used to identify developmental trajectories of smoking among 10- to 17-year-old participants of the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Developmental trajectories of trying smoking, smoking frequency, and smoking intensity. RESULTS: Five developmental trajectories related to smoking frequency were identified, of which 2 were acquisition patterns that led to daily smoking at age 16-17, and 3 were experimentation patterns that led to nonsmoking at age 16-17. The largest variability in changes in smoking behavior over time was the reported level of smoking frequency. CONCLUSION: Analysis showed that there is more than 1 way in which Canadian children and adolescents acquire smoking behaviors over time. The authors were able to differentiate patterns of experimentation from patterns of acquisition. Whereas experimentation has been generally considered as 1 of the stages in the smoking acquisition process leading to regular smoking, these results indicate that experimentation can be described as a distinct process in itself.
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