Smoking initiation among Israeli adolescents: A 24-year time-to-event analysis

L. Rosen, V. Rozhavski, H. Levine, T. Sela, Y. Bar-Ze'ev, V. Molina-Hazan, S. Zarka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Preventing smoking initiation will protect future generations from smoking-attributable death and disease. This study examines the correlates and patterns of initiation among Israeli youth using time-to-event analysis and other methods. Methods: Twenty-four consecutive representative samples (1986-2009) of new military recruits (N. = 50,254) were analyzed. Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analysis were used to identify factors associated with smoking initiation, and logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with smoking status. Results: The most hazardous age for smoking initiation was seventeen, subsequent to the mean age of smoking initiation (males: 15.7, females: 16.0). Age of initiation and age of greatest hazard for initiation declined among recruits between the years 1986 and 2009. Earlier smoking initiation among boys and girls was significantly associated with low education levels (<. 12. years) (males: HR. = 2.98, CI: [2.79, 3.18]; females: HR. = 3.35, CI: [2.96, 3.80]), low paternal education levels, Russian birthplace, and religion. Earlier initiation in boys was associated with high fitness levels and low/medium socio-economic status. Earlier initiation in girls was associated with being Western-born and ever-use of contraception. Conclusions: Smoking initiation among Israeli youth recruited to the armed forces is associated with individual and family characteristics, particularly low education levels. Time-to-event analysis complements traditional means of understanding smoking initiation by identifying ages at which initiation hazard is high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research (Grant number 2007/12/R ). We thank the health surveillance personnel of the Israel Defense Forces for patiently collecting the data throughout the years. We thank Jonathan Harris for assistance with the graphs. No other authors contributed substantively to this work.


  • Cox proportional hazards model
  • Hazard
  • Smoking initiation
  • Survival analysis
  • Time-to-event analysis
  • Tobacco control
  • Youth smoking prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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