Introduction: The association between knowledge and attitudes before the onset of smoking during college life in college students was determined.
Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional study carried out through a self-report survey in a sample of 433 students randomly selected between April and May 2010. Simple and multiple Poisson regression analyses were carried put and, crude and adjusted prevalence reasons (PR) were calculated.
Results: We found that being male (PR = 1.62; 95%CI: 1.21-2.18) and knowing Colombian legislation about tobacco use (PR = 1.75; 95%CI: 1.25-2.45) increases the likelihood of smoking onset during college. In contrast, knowing that smokers generally die younger than nonsmokers (PR = 0.72; 95%CI: 0.53-0.98), that most patients with lung cancer are or have been smokers (PR = 0.64; 95%CI: 0.46-0.89), and considering smoking is a bad habit (PR = 0.58; 95%CI: 0.42-0.80) or drug dependence (PR = 0.48; 95%CI: 0.27-0.82) are associated with a lower likelihood of smoking onset during college.
Conclusion: Knowledge about the effects of smoking decreases the onset of smoking during college life.
Key words: Cigarette consumption, health knowledge, attitudes and practices, students, cross-sectional studies