Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education

First Advisor

Ken Burns


Many smokers acquire their habit during adolescence, largely because of social forces experienced by people in that age group. In Australia, more girls than boys are smoking, and an increasing number of women are contracting diseases associated with smoking. More women are dying from Lung Cancer and female smokers make themselves vulnerable to a range of disorders related to fertility and pregnancy. The fact that more girls are taking up regular smoking has become an important health concern. This study explores gender related differences in smoking acquisition among a sample population of one hundred and six year eight students attending Balga Senior High School, 1989. Balga is a northern suburb of Perth where the population is predominately of lower socio-economic status. Students completed a twenty nine item questionnaire measuring prevalence patterns of smoking and factors that influence taking up smoking on a regular basis. In real terms, more girls were smoking than boys, and there were more regular smokers in this sample population compared with year eights generally in Western Australia. These results however were not statistically significant. Several gender related differences in the taking up of regular smoking were identified. Of statistical significance were attitudes towards weight control and smoking, and having a sister who smoked regularly. Boys who were regular smokers were more likely to have a sister who smoked and were more likely to regard smoking as an aid to weight control.