Modifying effect of suicidal ideation on the relationship between asthma and cigarette use behaviors among Korean adolescents

Jisuk Bae, Eun Young Park, Soon Woo Park
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2011, 44 (3): 118-24

OBJECTIVES: Although cigarette smoking is known to be related to the exacerbation of asthma symptoms, several studies have indicated that the prevalence of cigarette smoking among asthmatic adolescents is similar to or even higher than that among non-asthmatic adolescents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between asthma and cigarette use behaviors and whether or not the presence of suicidal ideation modifies this relationship among Korean adolescents.

METHODS: We analyzed data from the 2008 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey, which included a nationally representative sample of middle and high school students. Multiple logistic regression models were used to calculate odd ratios and 95% confidence intervals of cigarette use behaviors among current asthmatics, former asthmatics, and non-asthmatics, after adjusting for gender, grade, school records, socioeconomic status, current alcohol use, and suicidal ideation.

RESULTS: Of 75 238 study participants, 3.5% were current asthmatics and 4.5% were former asthmatics. Compared with non-asthmatics, asthmatics were more likely to report current cigarette use, frequent and heavy cigarette use, and cigarette use before 13 years of age. There were statistically significant interactions between asthma and suicidal ideation in cigarette use behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that asthmatic adolescents are more likely than non-asthmatic adolescents to engage in cigarette use behaviors and the presence of suicidal ideation is an effect modifier of the relationship between asthma and cigarette use behaviors. Particular attention should be paid to the awareness of health risks of cigarette smoking and mental health problems among asthmatic adolescents.

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