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To compare individual with community risk factors for adolescent smoking.
A cross-sectional observational study with multivariate analysis.
National telephone survey.
3646 US adolescents aged 13–18 years in 2007 recruited through a random digit-dial survey.
Ever tried smoking and, among experimental smokers, smoking intensity (based on smoking in past 30 days).
One-third of participants (35.6%, N=1297) had tried smoking. After controlling for individual risk factors, neither tobacco outlet density nor proximity were associated with tried smoking or smoking intensity. Associations with trying smoking included age (adjusted OR (AOR)=1.23, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.31), lower socioeconomic status (AOR=0.82, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.91), sibling smoking (AOR=2.13, 95% CI 1.75 to 2.59), friend smoking (AOR=2.60, 95% CI 2.19 to 3.10 for some and AOR=7.01, 95% CI 5.05 to 9.74 for most), movie smoking exposure (AOR=2.66, 95% CI 1.95 to 3.63), team sports participation (AOR=0.69, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.89) and sensation seeking (AOR=7.72, 95% CI 5.26 to 11.34). Among experimental smokers, age (AOR=1.32, 95% CI 1.21 to 1.44), minority status (AOR=0.48, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.79 for Black; AOR=0.46, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.69 for Hispanic; AOR=0.53, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.85 for mixed race/other), friend smoking (AOR=3.37, 95% CI 2.37 to 4.81 for some; AOR=20.27, 95% CI 13.22 to 31.08 for most), team sports participation (AOR=0.38, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.55) and sensation seeking (AOR=6.57, 95% CI 3.71 to 11.64) were associated with smoking intensity.
The study suggests that interventions and policies to prevent and reduce youth smoking should focus on individual risk factors for smoking, including supporting participation in team sports, minimising exposure to movie smoking, addressing the social influence of friend smoking and addressing experience seeking among high sensation-seekers.