Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 316–319 | Cite as

Are the Recommended Taxonomies for the Stages of Youth Smoking Onset Consistent with Youth’s Perceptions of Their Smoking Status?

  • Scott T. Leatherdale
  • Paul W. McDonald


Background: To examine if the recommended taxonomies for the stages of youth smoking onset are aligned with the beliefs of smoking youth.

Methods: The SHAPES Tobacco Module was administered to 23,047 students (grades 9 to 13) in a convenience sample of 29 secondary schools during the 2000–2001 school year in the province of Ontario, Canada. Cross-tabs were used to compare a student’s selfperceived smoking status to their smoking status as determined with the currently recommended stage taxonomies for smoking behaviour.

Results: The majority of students classified as regular smokers (52.4%) and experimental smokers (98.9%) did not actually consider themselves to be smokers. Self-reported smoking status appeared to be relatively consistent for the never smoker and established smoker categories.

Conclusions: Additional research is required to develop stage taxonomies that are aligned with the self-perceptions of non-established youth smokers.

MeSH terms

Smoking behavior adolescent/youth behavior taxonomy 


Contexte: Déterminer si la taxonomie recommandée des étapes menant à la décision de fumer chez les jeunes correspond aux perceptions des jeunes fumeurs.

Méthode: Le module sur le tabagisme du système SHAPES (School Health Action Planning and Evaluation System) a été administré à 23 047 élèves (de la 9e à la 13e année) d’un échantillon de commodité de 29 écoles secondaires pendant l’année scolaire 2000–2001 dans la province de l’Ontario. Par croisement des données, nous avons comparé l’usage du tabac perçu par l’élève et l’étape où en est cet élève selon la taxonomie actuellement recommandée de l’usage du tabac.

Résultats: Une majorité d’élèves se classait dans la catégorie des fumeurs réguliers (52,4 %), mais les fumeurs à titre expérimental (98,9 %) ne se considéraient pas vraiment comme étant des fumeurs. L’usage du tabac déclaré par l’intéressé correspondait assez bien à la taxonomie recommandée dans la catégorie des personnes n’ayant jamais fumé et dans celle des fumeurs permanents.

Conclusions: Il faudrait pousser la recherche pour élaborer une taxonomie qui corresponde aux autoperceptions des jeunes fumeurs qui ne fument pas encore régulièrement.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Preventive OncologyCancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoCanada
  4. 4.Population Health Research GroupUniversity of WaterlooCanada

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