Are private school students more likely to smoke than public school students in China?Prev Med 2006; 43(2):117-21PM
Tobacco use is prevalent among adolescents in China in general, however, little is known about tobacco use among students in private schools with an enrollment of 1.5 million.
In 2001, cross-sectional survey data from 2725 students in grades seven and eight (1307 sampled from private schools and 1418 sampled from public schools) were included. Smoking measures (risk of susceptibility to smoking, smoking onset, ever smoking, smoking in the past 7 days and past 30 days, established smoking) were compared between private and public school students using chi-square test, logistic regression, and survival analysis.
Cigarette smoking was more prevalent among private school students than among public school students (private vs. public: 21.9% vs. 12.3% for susceptibility to smoking, 53.9% vs. 38.2% for ever smoking, 22% vs. 12.0% for 30-day smoking, 15.9% vs. 4.0% for 7-day smoking, 4.5% vs. 1.2% for established smoking). Students in private schools are 3.4 to 3.8 times more likely to smoke than students in public schools after the adjustment of important covariates (gender, grade, peer smoking, parental smoking, and parents' occupation). Risk of smoking onset by age was also greater for private school students than for public school students.
Being in private schools was associated with three to four times increases in the likelihood of current cigarette smoking and heightened risk of smoking onset by age. Findings from this study suggest the urgent need to collect additional data on risk and protective factors as well as the willingness to participate in effective tobacco use intervention prevention among private school students.