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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 287139, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/287139
Research Article

Smoking Habits among Italian Adolescents: What Has Changed in the Last Decade?

1Dipartimento di Scienze della Sanità Pubblica e Pediatriche, Università di Torino, Via Santena 5 bis, 10126 Torino, Italy
2Dipartimento della Sanità Pubblica e dell’Innovazione, Ministero della Salute, Viale Giorgio Ribotta 5, 00144 Roma, Italy

Received 14 February 2014; Revised 28 March 2014; Accepted 28 March 2014; Published 22 April 2014

Academic Editor: Giuseppe La Torre

Copyright © 2014 Lorena Charrier et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Tobacco use, alcohol abuse, overweight and obesity are risk factors for numerous diseases in Italy as elsewhere. However, children and adolescents are not usually included in official national surveys although it is at this stage of life when unhealthy habits are often established. Italian participation in HBSC and GYTS surveys allows our country to implement standardized surveillance systems providing reliable information on tobacco-related behaviors of this population. Data from three HBSC surveys (2002–2010) show that following the drop in the first half of the decade, prevalence of tobacco use stabilized in the second half. The decline was significant for younger age groups, while prevalence of regular tobacco use remained stable among 15-year-olds. Many adolescents reported being exposed to secondhand smoke, to have at least one parent who smokes, and having seen teachers and students smoking at school. Although the sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited, the vast majority had no trouble in buying cigarettes. Data from GYTS and HBSC surveys provide a wealth of information about attitudes and behaviors of Italian adolescents with respect to smoking. Despite some progress, sizeable gaps remain in meeting standard recommendations for discouraging smoking initiation and motivating adolescent smokers to quit the habit.