This study examined smoking intensity among secondary school adolescent smokers. A total of 800 students, made up of 685 males and 115 females who have at least tasted a cigarette once, from twenty secondary schools (5 private and 15 public secondary schools) in Benin City, Nigeria participated in the study. A questionnaire was used in collecting data that were analyzed in this study. The questionnaire consisted of 7 sections: the demographic variables, Smoking stages, delinquency, alcohol use, school connectedness, family connectedness and peer smoking status. Two out of the three hypotheses tested were supported. Result of the multiple regression analysis indicated that delinquency and parents' smoking status independently predict smoking initiation, while depression was not found to initiate smoking among adolescents. Adolescents' whose parents smoke and had a strong family connectedness were found to smoke more during the addictive stage than those whose parents do not smoke. Female smokers were found to smoke more at initiation stage as a result of peer pressure and school connectedness. Males were found not to have greater smoking intensity as a result of peer pressure and school connectedness. Based on the findings of this study, it was recommended that the future of a successful treatment program by therapists for smokers lies heavily on knowing and identifying the stage of smoking the individual is, and how intense the individual's smoking level. This no doubt would help the therapists in tailoring specific treatment for specific individuals.
World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Heart Foundation's current data reveal that in Nigeria, 22.1 % of school youth age between 12 to 17 years use tobacco (Megafu, 2002, as cited in Imhonde, 2005). In addition, general population survey on the use of tobacco products among Nigerian adults (20 years+) carried out in the Middle Belt Region of Northern Nigeria revealed the following: that the prevalence rate of cigarette smoking was 22.6 %; cigar pipe tobacco stood at 17.9 %; and snuff users was 9.6 %. Furthermore, Males were discovered to smoke more titan females (Obot, 1990, as cited in Imhonde, 2005). Furthermore, me National Drug Law Enforcement Agency [NDLEA] (1991), found that about 11 % of the students' population in Lagos, Nigeria abused cigarettes. In 1992, NDLEA shifted research to Kano state and found that the male to female ratio for cigarette use was 11:1. In the same year, the NDLEA carried out yet another comparative study of Kano and Lagos states on the extent and pattern of the use of psychoactive drugs among secondary school students. It was found that unlike in Lagos state, where Valium topped the list and cigarette use came a distant 3rd position, cigarette use topped the list in Kano state and was followed by Valium use (NDLEA, 1992).
Smoking rates among secondary schools adolescents in the United States of America has also risen over the past decade; with the prevalence rate of current cigarette smoking (i.e., at least 1 cigarette in the past 30 days) among high school students increasing from 27.5% in 1991 to as high as 36.4% in 1997 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 1998), with a slight decrease in 1999 to 34.8% (CDC, 2000). Leventhal and Cleary (1980) originally described smoking as a complex behavior that evolves through several stages. Smoking in adolescence is commonly conceptualized as progressing through a sequence of developmental stages characterized by different stages of smoking frequency and intensity (Mayhew, Flay, & Mott, 2000), often culnnnating in nicotine dependence (Chassin, Presson, Pitts, & Sherman, 2000; Colby, Tiffany, Shiffinan, & Niaura, 2000).
Given the recurring incidents of smoking and other substance abuse among secondary schools' adolescents, Orubu (1983, cited in Adelekan & Ndom, 1997) warned thatyoung people were now ruining their lives through drug use as Nigeria ranks third among the developing countries in its use of dangerous drugs. …