The theory of planned behavior as a behavior change model for tobacco control strategies among adolescents in Botswana

Roy Tapera, Bontle Mbongwe, Magen Mhaka-Mutepfa, Andrew Lord, Nthabiseng A. Phaladze, Nicola M. Zetola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Behavioral intentions (motivational factors), attitudes, subjective norm (social pressures), and perceived behavioral control promote or discourage smoking behavior among adolescents. Objective To assess students’ behavioral intentions, attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control on smoking using the Theory of Planned Behavior. The prevalence of smoking among the adolescents is also calculated. Methods In this cross-sectional study, structured self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data from adolescents in primary and secondary schools. Data on demographics, behavioral intentions, attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control towards smoking were collected. Pearson product moment correlations and logistic regression models were used to determine factors associated with current smoking. Results A total sample of 2554 (mean age = 15; Range = 12–18 years) students participated in the study. Twenty-nine percent (n = 728) of the students had tried smoking at least once. Smoking was predicted by attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control and intention. There was a strong association between having a parent or guardian, caregiver or close friend who smoked (p < 0.001) and being a smoker. The majority of students (57%) conveyed that adults talked to them about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking and 50% had discussed smoking concerns with their friends. Students who had positive attitudes towards smoking like “smoking makes you confident” were more likely to be current smokers (OR: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.03–2.59). The feeling or conviction that they could refuse a cigarette if offered was an impediment from smoking (OR: 0.18, 95% CI: 0.13–0.26). Conclusions Attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control contributed significantly to the students’ smoking. Right attitudes must be cultivated and behavioral control must be strengthened for early effective interventions to curtail smoking among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0233462
JournalPloS one
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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