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Examining gender differences in emerging tobacco use using the adolescents' need for smoking scale


Chris G. Richardson, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, the University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z3. E-mail:


Aims  To investigate the influence of gender on emerging tobacco use by testing for gender-based measurement invariance of the Adolescents' Need for Smoking Scale (ANSS) and examining gender differences on each dimension across increasing levels of amount smoked.

Design  Cross-sectional survey.

Setting  Thirteen secondary schools located in British Columbia, Canada.

Participants  Data from 1425 youth who reported smoking at least once in the past month.

Measurements  Survey questions about demographic characteristics, tobacco smoking history and need for smoking.

Findings  The multi-dimensional structure of the ANSS is equivalent in boys and girls and the ANSS questions are not gender-biased. There were no significant gender differences in the levels of physical dependence across increasing levels of amount smoked. Girls scored higher than boys on levels of emotional dependence across increasing levels of life-time cigarette exposure. Girls also had higher scores on the social dimension of the ANSS compared to boys among those who smoked 100 or more cigarettes.

Conclusions  Canadian girls score higher than boys on measures of emotional dependence and social attitudes associated with tobacco smoking.