I thought this was interesting so I wanted to share with our readers.
A 12-item screening tool can help identify teens who are likely to start smoking in the next year, researchers report in Pediatrics.
To develop the tool, the researchers used data from over 800 children who completed questionnaires several times each year from seventh grade through high school. All were initially nonsmokers. The questionnaires assessed lifestyle factors, personality traits, and mental health, as well as whether the student had begun smoking in the prior 3 months. From this information, the researchers identified variables most predictive of smoking.
Overall, 16% of the adolescents began smoking. Twelve predictors emerged and were incorporated into the screening tool. Among them: having friends who smoke, having low self-esteem, and consuming alcohol. (See second link below to access the tool.)
The researchers write: “If the predictive ability is replicated in other settings, this tool can be used to help clinicians select who should be counseled and, because several items in the tool are amenable to prevention, how they should be counseled.”