Young adults, 18- to 24-years-old, who regularly use alcohol, get poor grades and are impulsive are also more likely to start smoking, according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The research from the University of Montreal School of Public Health is based on data from 1,293 young people in Montreal and surrounding areas. The Nicotine Dependence in Teens study began in 1999 and tracked the participants’ behavior from an average age of nearly 13-years-old to an average age of 24.

By the end of the study, 75 percent of study participants had tried smoking. Forty-four percent of the teens started smoking before entering high school, 43 percent started during high school, and 14 percent started sometime in the six years post-high school.

Not all those who tried cigarettes continued to smoke, but researchers found that impulsivity, poor grades and regular alcohol use were the three risk factors associated with those who began smoking after high school, when the participants were between ages 18 and 24.

The authors noted that the findings suggest smoking prevention programs shouldn’t just target teens, but young adults also.

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Photo by Michelle Heath