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Prevalence and associated factors of smoking among secondary school students in Harare Zimbabwe

Tsitsi Bandason1* and Simbarashe Rusakaniko2

Author Affiliations

1 Biomedical Research and Training Institute, Harare, Zimbabwe

2 Department of Community Medicine, College of Heath Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

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Tobacco Induced Diseases 2010, 8:12  doi:10.1186/1617-9625-8-12

Published: 27 October 2010



There is a growing epidemic of tobacco use among adolescents in the developing world. However, there is no up to date information on smoking among adolescents. Although in the developing world concerted efforts are being made to control tobacco use, Zimbabwe does not have any documented tobacco control programmes. We estimated the prevalence of smoking among school going secondary school students in Harare, Zimbabwe.


A 3-stage stratified random sampling was employed to select six participating schools and students. A descriptive analysis was conducted to describe the demographic characteristics of the participants. The prevalence of smoking was estimated and the comparison of prevalence was performed according to its associated factors. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for smoking.


650 students with a mean age 16 years and 47% of them female participated. Prevalence of ever-smoked was 28.8% (95% CI 25.3 to 32.3). Prevalence of ever-smoked among males (37.8%) was significantly (p < 0.001) much higher than among females (18.5%). In the multivariate analysis, smoking was found to be statistically associated with having friends that smoke (OR 2.8), getting involved in physical fights (OR 2.3), alcohol use (OR 5.7), marijuana use (OR 8.1) and having had sexual intercourse (OR 4.4).


The study provides recent estimates of prevalence of smoking, and indicates that there is still a high prevalence of smoking among urban secondary school students. Exposure to friends who smoke, risky behaviour like substance abuse, premarital sex and physical fights are significantly associated with smoking. Interventions to stop or reduce the habit should be implemented now and future studies should monitor and evaluate the impact of the interventions.