Exploring the key factors for tobacco and substance abuse by adolescents in Bangladesh
Presentation at American Public Health Association 131st Annual Meeting & Exposition, 17-18 November
Rahman,Laila; Bhuiya,Ismat; Rob,Ubaidur
Publication date: 2003
This paper presents the findings from a cross-sectional study investigating adolescents' various risky behaviors including tobacco, alcohol and other drugs carried out among 3102 adolescents (1555 boys and 1547 girls) in three northwestern urban districts in Bangladesh. In addition, in-depth interviews with 31 adolescents were conducted for further exploring the factors behind their tobacco and other substance abuse. The survey findings indicated that 32% (n=997) adolescents ever smoked while 22% (n=700) are currently smokers, that is, ever smokers, to a great extent, tend to continue with smoking. The mean age of first smoking is 14 years but the age range of experiencing the first puff varied between 5 and 19. The mean age of drinking was16 years while the first sip was taken at the age of 11. Current consumption of tobacco has a strong correlation with sex, that is, males are more likely to smoke. Working status, current drug (marijuana, heroine and injection) taking and current alcohol and codeine containing cough syrup (phensydil) consumption are positively correlated with current smoking habit. Moreover, 65% currently smokers had more than one sexual partners against 6% of their non-smoker counterparts. Notably, 100% substance abusers recognized that these are harmful practices. In-depth study revealed that experimentation, peer pressure, show off nature, impersonating elders, availability of substances coupled with affordable cost are influencing factors for first exposure, while addiction, availability, lower cost and substance-taking companions play the major role on continuation. The underlying factors for discontinuation were reported as reputation crisis and social barriers.