Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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Does ethnicity or religion affect and/or explain the relationship between knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, and smoking behaviour?

Denis Anthony, Qasim Chowdary, Pamela Dyson, KR Thankappan

Each year about 200 000 young people commence smoking in the UK. Most regular smokers report starting in their teens, and health education designed for smoking cessation among school children should identify and take into account the contributory factors for tobacco use. We used a crosssectional anonymous survey of 693 school children (aged 11–16 years, 47% boys) in Leicester. This survey was delivered in schools in Leicester in March 2011. There are significant differences between different ethnic and religious groups and between the sexes with regard to smoking behaviour,with higher smoking rates in girls, those from white British ethnic groups and those with no stated religion. There are no differences with regard to knowledge, attitudes or beliefs. Smoking behaviour is not explained by attitude or knowledge. Cultural factors are important in determining the risk of smoking; young people who are white British, those who are female and those with no religion have higher smoking rates in Leicester.