Children's loss of autonomy over smoking: the Global Youth Tobacco Survey

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adolescent Behavior; Child; Child Behavior; Cyprus; Female; Greece; *Health Behavior; Health Surveys; Humans; Male; Nicotine; *Personal Autonomy; Prevalence; Regression Analysis; Smoking; Smoking Cessation; Tobacco Use Disorder


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


BACKGROUND: Empirical data suggest that children with infrequent tobacco use have difficulty quitting smoking.

METHODS: Data were obtained from the nationally representative Global Youth Tobacco Survey of middle-school students in Cyprus and Greece. Regression analyses examined associations between smoking frequency (smoking days per month or cigarettes smoked per day) and loss of autonomy (difficulty refraining from smoking).

RESULTS: The prevalence of lost autonomy was 40% among subjects who smoked 1 or 2 days/month and 41% among subjects who averaged less than one cigarette/day and increased in a dose-response pattern. Regression models derived from the Cyprus data were replicated by the Greek data.

CONCLUSIONS: Two national surveys confirm previous reports of difficulty with smoking cessation with infrequent smoking. Since loss of autonomy is universally recognised as a core feature of addiction, our data indicate that young adolescents experience symptoms of nicotine addiction with infrequent tobacco use.

DOI of Published Version



Tob Control. 2011 May;20(3):201-6. Epub 2010 Nov 25. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Tobacco control

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID