The health of adolescents is a major concern in many countries. They are at the transitional stage of physical and psychological development or changes from childhood to adulthood. They are vulnerable to many kinds of unhealthy behaviors to imperil their health, such as alcohol, tobacco use, unprotected sex, early pregnancy, exposure to violence and so on. As these undesirable behaviors are directly associated with health in adulthood, thereby affecting life expectancy, protecting them from health risks is critical for countries’ future health.
Smoking cigarettes often begins during adolescence, along with other health-related risky behaviors [1
]. Studies have shown that smoking in adolescents is associated with risky behaviors including sexual intercourse and alcohol consumption [2
]. These risky behaviors tend to co-exist [8
], but previous studies have typically been concerned with smoking and alcohol consumption. In the current issue of Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives, a study by Kim and Cho [11
] examined the relationship between sexual experience and smoking and alcohol consumption in high school students, using the national data extracted from the 11th Korean Youth Health Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey.
Analysis of data from 33,744 Korean high school students reported that 3.6% of girls and 9.9% of boys in high school had experienced sexual intercourse, and this was dose-dependent to the number of cigarettes smoked and amount of alcohol consumed. The authors reported that smoking up to 9 cigarettes and drinking up to 6 units of alcohol, lead to a higher risk ratio of 5.94 for students having sexual intercourse. However, the risk ratio increased to 22.25 when students smoked more than 10 cigarettes and drank more than 7 units of alcohol.
The authors concluded that smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption increased the likelihood of Korean high school students having sexual intercourse. These observations indicate that there is a significant relationship between smoking, drinking alcohol, and sexual intercourse, and this information could be used to help the development of a combined adolescent health education program with mediating risk factors.
Conflicts of Interest
No conflicts of interest declared by the author.
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