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Knowledge about social and psychological risk factors for initial cigarette smoking experience (ICSE) is sparse. The present study aimed to estimate the prevalence of ICSE and to examine the psychological and social factors related to ICSE. In a cross-sectional survey, 1,511 male college students were recruited using multistage sampling techniques from four universities located within the city of Ilam, Iran. Self-administered multiple-choice questionnaires were distributed to students from March to June 2013. Risk factors for ICSE were evaluated using logistic regression models. Participants were 22.3 ± 2.4 years of age. ICSE prevalence was 30.6%. In multivariable adjusted analysis, risk taking behavior (odds ratio [OR] = 1.61; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11-2.33), perceived peer smoking prevalence (OR = 2.48; 95% CI = 1.03-5.97), positive thoughts about smoking (OR = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.02-1.10), high self-efficacy (OR = 0.95, 95% CI [0.93, 0.98]), presence in smokers' gathering (OR = 4.45; 95% CI = 2.88-6.81), comity of smokers (OR = 2.56; 95% CI = 1.66, 3.92), very hard access to cigarettes (OR = 2.20; 95% CI = 1.16-4.16), close friends' medium reaction toward smoking (OR = 1.38; 95% CI = 1.02-1.88), and sporting activity (OR = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.56-0.98) were significantly associated with ICSE. This study identified that a combination of psychological and social variables account for up to 78% of the probability of ICSE. The most important protective factor against ICSE was physical activity, whereas the most important risk factor for ICSE was frequent gathering in the presence of smokers.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Mens Health

Publication Date





14 - 23


adolescent, male, smoking, students, Humans, Iran, Logistic Models, Male, Multivariate Analysis, Odds Ratio, Peer Group, Prevalence, Protective Factors, Risk Factors, Risk-Taking, Self Efficacy, Smoking, Social Environment, Sports, Students, Surveys and Questionnaires, Tobacco Products, Universities, Young Adult