Cigarette smoking and Ecuadorian adolescents: A cross-sectional survey and policy review

Diana Irene Padgett, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This study investigates the relationship between cigarette smoking and adolescents in Ecuador, South America. Using the Social Learning Theory as a basis, the cross-sectional survey focuses attention on such social influences as the smoking habits of family members and peers as well as, the role of cigarette advertisements. Actual use prevalence, access to cigarettes and knowledge and attitudes about smoking are also obtained. The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas, with 50 schools in 40 different communities participating. Two thousand four hundred and fifty-seven adolescents aged 9 to 15 years completed a self-administered questionnaire. This part of the study was conducted in collaboration with the international health organization Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS). Staff assigned to the AMIGOS Ecuador projects worked with local health and education officials to implement the cross-sectional survey in the field. The key informant survey and subsequent policy review were designed to illuminate the social, cultural and institutional environment for anti-smoking activities and interventions in Ecuador. Key individuals involved with this issue on both national and local levels were interviewed. A review of past legislative efforts and present anti-smoking laws was also conducted. The current smoking prevalence among the study population was 8.6 percent. Findings from the cross-sectional survey revealed significant positive associations between the smoking habits of siblings and peers and the smoking behavior of the adolescents surveyed. Significant age and gender differences were also found in association with several different variables. The policy review found an unfavorable environment for anti-smoking efforts. Several factors contribute to this including, most importantly, lack of funding and lack of public support. The present anti-smoking law is often vague and lacks important provisions, such as a prohibition on selling tobacco products to minors. Together, the two surveys provide comprehensive information for the purpose of designing smoking prevention interventions. Using the results from the two surveys, recommendations for intervention are proposed.

Subject Area

Public health|Public administration

Recommended Citation

Padgett, Diana Irene, "Cigarette smoking and Ecuadorian adolescents: A cross-sectional survey and policy review" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9700047.