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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2742-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
DRS substantially obtained the data from USAID website, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. DY only made contribution to the data analysis and discussion part of the manuscript. Both authors read, revised and approved the final manuscript.
DRS holds a Bachelor degree in Medical Science from Latrobe University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Queensland in Australia. DY holds a Bachelor degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from University of Lome, Togo. Both authors recently completed a Post-Graduate Program from School of Public Health of Georgia State University on a Fulbright Scholarship Program.
Smoking is a global public health concern. Timor-Leste is facing a rapidly growing epidemic of tobacco use. The trend of smoking in Timor-Leste seems to be increasing and the magnitude of the problem affects people who smoke before reaching adulthood. One of the factors implicated in the continuously rising trend of smoking among young people in Timor-Leste is clearly due to unavailability of restrictive laws and regulations. Therefore, our study sought to analyze available dataset from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) for developing a comprehensive national smoking policy in order to lower smoking risks among young people in Timor-Leste.
We conducted a secondary analysis of the 2009 GYTS in Timor-Leste. The 2009 GYTS assessed 1657 in-school students aged 13–15 years for current smoking prevalence and determinants of tobacco use. We used IBM SPSS version 21 software to analyze the data. Frequency analyses were computed to identify demographic characteristics of study participants. Bivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between each demographic characteristic as well as each independent variable and the outcome of being current smokers.
Out of 1657 in-school students, 51 % were of ages less than 15; 53 % were girls; and 45 % were in grade 2. Prevalence of current cigarette smoking was found to be 51 %. The prevalence of current smoking among in-school students increased with ages (from 46 % in less than 15 to 57 % in 15 plus). Boys were more likely to be smokers than girls (59 % versus 28 %). Significant factors positively associated with current smoking included parental smoking; closed-peer smoking; number of days people smoked in the house; having family discussion about harmful effects of smoking; being smoking in areas such as school, public places and home; and having seen cigarette advertisements on billboard.
Timor-Leste has higher prevalence of cigarette smoking among minors, especially among boys. Our analysis provides evidence-based information for developing comprehensive tobacco control programs - both education and policy interventions to reduce smoking rate among young people in Timor-Leste.