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Open Access Open Badges Review

Factors Related to Cigarette Smoking Initiation and Use among College Students

Diane Von Ah1*, Sheryl Ebert2, Anchalee Ngamvitroj3, Najin Park4 and Duck-Hee Kang4

  • * Corresponding author: Diane Von Ah

Author Affiliations

1 Indiana University, School of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

2 Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

3 College of Nursing, The Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand

4 School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

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Tobacco Induced Diseases 2005, 3:27-40  doi:10.1186/1617-9625-3-1-27

Published: 15 December 2005


The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the impact of personality factors (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness), cognitive factors (sense of coherence and self-efficacy), coping resources (family and friend social support) and demographic factors (gender and ethnicity) on cigarette smoking behaviors (initiation, frequency, and amount of cigarette smoking) among college students. A total of 161 U.S. college students, aged 18–26, who enrolled in an introductory psychology course completed self-report questionnaires. The majority of the students had tried smoking (55%); among those who had tried, 42% were current smokers. The majority (77%) who had smoked a whole cigarette did so at age 16 years or younger. Students who reported lower levels of conscientiousness and self-efficacy had a greater likelihood to had tried cigarette smoking. Also, students who had lower levels of self-efficacy reported smoking more frequently and greater quantities of cigarettes than students with higher levels of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy was the most significant predictor of smoking behaviors. Health promotion programs focused on self-efficacy may be an effective tool for reducing the initiation, frequency, and amount of cigarette smoking among college students.