Using the GYTS, Kyrlesi et al (2007)  reported that among 13 to 15 year olds, 16.2% were current users of all tobacco products, 1 in 4 had started smoking by 10 years and 94.1% reported environmental tobacco exposure at home. 10.4% were current cigarette smoking among 13 to 15 year olds. However, the predictors of smoking or social correlates were not reported among school-going adolescents in Greece. Our study explored the association between a selected list of variables and current cigarette smoking.
In bivariate analysis, we found that older age, male gender, having smoking parents, lower parental education status, and high amount of pocket money at the adolescent's disposal were positively associated with being a current cigarette smoker. In multivariate analysis, male gender, smoking status of parents and pocket money were positively associated with being a current smoker. Previous studies elsewhere have reported the association between cigarette smoking and age, gender, parental smoking status, and pocket money [7–10].
Males were more likely to be smokers than females. Similar findings have been reported in other studies and may suggest societal tolerance of male smoking [9, 15, 16]. However, Hublet et al.(2006) have reported that female adolescents have higher prevalence of cigarette smoking than males in Sweden (13.7% vs. 5.5%), Norway (19.9% vs. 15.4%), Austria (24.7% vs. 19.5%), Belgium (19.0 vs. 16.8%) and Finland (18.0 vs. 16.4) , which is an indication that gender difference in cigarette smoking may be context-specific. Furthermore, it's of considerable interest that in some countries (e.g. Greece, Japan, Malawi and Ethiopia) apparently smoking is more prevalent among adolescents boys than girls, in other countries (e.g. Sweden, Norway, Austria, Finland, NZ, Australia) smoking is more prevalent among adolescent girls. In particular, for Greece we speculate that the previous finding could be associated with the ongoing – and not yet completed – process of ''westernization" of the Greek society.
Findings from this study indicate that subjects whose parents smoked were more likely to be smokers than those whose parents were not smokers; which is consistent with previous studies . This suggests the influence parents have on the lifestyle of their children.
In this study, subjects who had more than 16 Euro per week as pocket money were more likely to smoke than those who had seven Euros or less per week. This finding may suggest that having disposable income may influence smoking practice and/or that those adolescents with no money or very little may be purchasing bare essentials. Mohan et al have also reported on a four times the risk of being a smoker among adolescents who received pocket money versus none in India . The public health significance of this finding is that parents and other guardians who provide adolescents with cash should take interest in how that money is used.
We also found that the higher the educational level of the father, the less likely that the teenager was a smoker. On the other hand, it did not appear that the educational status of the mother was associated with being a smoker or non-smoker. We suggest that it is possible that the educational status, and therefore the socio-economic status of the male parent could influence adolescent behavior more than that of the mother.
Our study has the following limitations. Firstly the data were collected through self-completion of the questionnaire. It is possible that recall bias could affect the accuracy of the reports as well as deliberate miss-reporting. As our assessment of current smoking status was not validated by biomarkers such as nicotine or cotinine levels or exhaled carbon monoxide, it is difficult to estimate the extent of any reporting biases that may have occurred [17, 18]. However our study used a standardized questionnaire that enables within country and across country comparisons of smoking status. The prevalence estimates also obtained are likely to closely represent the smoking prevalence among school-going adolescents. It is not known how representative our sample was to out of school adolescents.
As it has been noted above , Greece recorded a high smoking prevalence (37–40% of total population are current smokers). It has been suggested that Greece probably presents a pattern of smoking epidemic similar to that observed in United States and Western Europe during the sixties when more than 40% of adult smoked and smoking rates were almost equal between socioeconomic groups [19, 20]. In addition a study on the prevalence of current smoking among students (GYTS project) revealed that 16% of the adolescents aged 13–15 years were current smokers . The high prevalence of smoking among adults and adolescents reflects the state of antismoking and public health activities in Greece. Indeed, the first (and the only one till now) nationwide antismoking campaign has been implemented in 1978 .
We believe that there is an urgent need for designing and implementing a national programme against smoking in Greece. In the context of that programme special attention should be paying to the determinants of smoking among students.