[Perception of smoking rates and its relationship with cigarette use among Chilean adolescents].

Escuela de Psicología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile.
Revista medica de Chile (Impact Factor: 0.37). 06/2012; 140(6):740-5. DOI: 10.1590/S0034-98872012000600007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Background: Cigarette smoking among adolescents is a major health problem in Chile, which is determined by several factors. Among these, it is important the role of perceived norms regarding cigarette use among peers and the general population. Aim: To study the social norms about the perceived prevalence of smoking and its relationship with cigarette smoking among Chilean adolescents. Material and Methods: Participants were 480 adolescents of educational institutions from the South-East area of the Metropolitan Region, who completed a questionnaire that included questions regarding cigarette use and the perceived prevalence of cigarette use among peers and adults. Results: Adolescents overestimated the percentage of smokers compared to national statistics regarding their peers and adult population. The perception of adolescents regarding the rates of use among peers predicted both current and future use. Conclusions: Cigarette smoking is influenced by perceived norms regarding use and, despite the current smoking restrictions in place, youth continue to perceive that smoking is a common behavior.