Are there gender differences in subjective attractiveness and perceived trendiness of smoking among a group of adolescents?
Background: Despite the global growing concern about adolescent cigarette smoking, there has been no attention paid to the attractiveness and trendiness of smoking among this vulnerable group in Nigeria.
Objectives: This study determined gender differences in subjective attractiveness (SA) (the individual's personal opinion regarding how attractive a person who smokes is) and perceived trendiness (PT) (the individual's impressions of how popular smoking is) among a group of adolescents.
Methods: Data came from a Cross-sectional study of Senior Secondary school students in Lagos Nigeria. Senior secondary school students were asked to grade the level of attractiveness and trendiness of smoking on an ordinal scale indicating whether attractiveness or trendiness was more, less or indifferent for the smoker compared with the non-smoker.
Results: Total of 203 students made up of 50.2% males and 49.8% females whose ages ranged from 14 to 19 years with a mean of 15.9 ± 1.3SD.
Significantly higher proportion of boys perceived male smokers to have more friends (p = 0.04) or to be more comfortable (p = 0.047) while more females perceived them to have less friends and feel less comfortable at social gatherings.
Smoking status was significantly associated with subjective attractiveness as significantly higher proportion of smokers claimed that male and female smokers were more attractive than non-smokers (p=0.00).
Conclusion: This study found gender differences in trendiness but not attractiveness of smoking which was influenced by smoking status. Smoking prevention programmes designed for adolescents may benefit from the inclusion of contents that depict the unattractiveness and discourage the trendiness associated with smoking.
Keywords: Adolescents, Attractiveness, Trendiness, Smoking, Gender