This cross-sectional study determined whether various factors, such as parental behavior, attitude, and knowledge and sibling and peer behaviors, were associated with smoking and drinking among early adolescents in the Republic of Vanuatu. For this purpose, logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relative importance of the factors as well as the influences of the parents/guardians, siblings, and peers. The participants consisted of 157 seventh- and eighth-grade adolescents (mean age = 13.3 years; 52.2% girls), including their parents/guardians, from three public schools in Vanuatu. According to the results, the proportions of smokers and drinkers among the adolescents were 12.7% each, while the majority of the parents/guardians disapproved of underage smoking and drinking. In addition, peer influences (i.e., regularly smoking and/or drinking and offering tobacco and/or alcohol) was significantly associated with ever smoking and drinking, whereas parental and sibling influences did not have a significant impact on ever smoking and drinking. In sum, being given tobacco or alcohol from peers had the strongest association with ever smoking and drinking among the adolescents in this study. Thus, future school-based intervention programs should focus on enhancing early adolescents' life skills, including the ability to resist offers of tobacco and/or alcohol from their peers.
Keywords: Vanuatu; alcohol drinking; early adolescents; parents/guardians; peers; tobacco smoking.