Smoking Behaviour Among Indigenous Secondary School Students in North Queensland

This study investigated smoking behaviour among Indigenous youth. A sample of schools (n = 12) in north Queensland with large proportions of Indigenous students was selected. Details about the prevalence of smoking behaviour in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students (n = 883) were gathered. Data were also collected on the cultural, social, and psychological factors associated with cigarette smoking for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. This survey indicated smoking rates for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students were 24% and 30%, respectively. The study found similarities between both groups regarding where they obtained their cigarettes (friends) and their reasons for not smoking (their parents and health). Results of this survey challenge the belief that Indigenous youth are significantly different in their smoking patterns and behaviours compared to non-Indigenous secondary school students in rural regions. It indicated the potential importance of school communities in promoting non-smoking behaviours among Indigenous students even in the face of strong normative pressures from elsewhere in the community. This survey can be used to monitor smoking prevalence among Indigenous secondary students in north Queensland, help guide the development of culturally appropriate school curriculum resources and contribute to the overall evaluation of smoking prevention and smoking cessation programs which are developed for Indigenous secondary school students.
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