The influence of social network characteristics on peer clustering in smoking: A two-wave panel study of 19- and 23-year-old Swedes

The strong association between the initiation of smoking and peer-group smoking during adolescence has prompted numerous studies to examine the possible causal links between individuals’ and peers’ smoking behavior. A particular research focus has been to understand the development of smoking during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. Research on adolescents’ smoking behavior is relevant because adolescence has been identified as the most critical period for the initiation of smoking. Those who start smoking in adolescence have an increased probability of becoming life-long smokers, drastically increasing their risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and premature mortality. Taking up smoking a few years later significantly decreases the propensity for life-long smoking. Smoking prevention during adolescence, therefore, is an effective public health strategy.

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