Source of cigarettes among youth smokers in Malaysia: Findings from the tobacco and e-cigarette survey among Malaysian school adolescents (TECMA)
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Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Perlis, Perlis, Malaysia
Institute of Public Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hospital Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Temerloh, Malaysia
Kuang Hock Lim   

Institute for Medical Research, Jalan Pahang 50588, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Publish date: 2018-11-05
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(November):51
Understanding how and where youth obtain tobacco products are major factors in the development of suitable intervention programs to reduce youth smoking. This study aimed to determine the source of cigarettes and the associated factors among Malaysian school adolescent smokers.

Our sample consisted of 1348 youth aged 10–17 years who were current smokers (having smoked at least once in the last 30 days). The source of cigarettes (commercial, over-the-counter purchases; or social, borrowing or obtaining from someone else) was the dependent variable, and multivariable logistic regression was employed to determine its association with independent variables (i.e. sociodemographics, smoking behavior, and knowledge of laws prohibiting sales of cigarettes to youth).

Over half (54.3%) of current smokers obtained cigarettes from commercial sources, with a proportion nearly two times higher (84.2% vs 43.7%) among frequent smokers (i.e. those smoking more than 20 days per month) compared to less-frequent smokers, and among young males (56.5% vs 32.0%) compared young females. Multivariable logistic regression indicated that in urban areas, young females (AOR=12.5, 95% CI: 1.38–99.8) frequent smokers (AOR=4.41, 95% CI: 2.05–9.46), and those studying in lower (AOR=3.76, 95% CI: 1.41– 10.02) and upper secondary (AOR=4.74, 95% CI: 1.72–13.06) school students were more likely to obtain cigarettes from a commercial source. On the other hand, in rural areas, only frequent smokers were more likely to get their cigarettes from commercial sources, whilst other variables were not significant.

The proportion of youth smokers who obtained cigarettes from commercial sources appeared to be high, suggesting that law enforcement and health promotion activities should be enhanced to reduce the rate of smoking among Malaysian youth.

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