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Keywords:

  • smoking prevalence;
  • adolescents;
  • Russia

This study describes how ninth-grade adolescents' smoking behavior in the Pitkäranta district (Russia) differs from their eastern Finland counterparts. Cross-sectional data from the second North Karelia Youth Study and the Pitkäranta Youth Study were used. Subjects were all (n=385) ninth-grade students in 10 comprehensive schools in Pitkäranta and all (n=2098) students of the same age in 24 comprehensive schools in eastern Finland. Students were asked about their smoking status, intentions to smoke, smoking situations, acquisition of tobacco products, and opportunity to smoke in the school area. The results showed very large differences in the smoking prevalence between Pitkäranta and eastern Finland. For boys, the prevalence of daily smoking was 29% and 19% in Pitkäranta and eastern Finland, respectively. The differences in girls were adverse: 7% and 21% of girls in Pitkäranta and eastern Finland, respectively, were daily smokers. However, as many as one third of the nonsmoking girls in Pitkäranta stated that they may experiment or start smoking later. Boys in Pitkäranta had vaguer attitudes about remaining nonsmokers than boys in eastern Finland. This situation anticipates worsening of the smoking epidemic in Pitkäranta and requires an effective prevention policy and cooperation between different groups in society.