Religion as a Protective Factor Against Adolescent Smoking Habits: Evidence from Spain




adolescent, religion, tobacco, marijuana, cannabis, substance use, smoking


Background: There are a wide number of assessments suggesting that being a member of a religious community inhibits adolescents’ risky behaviours and, consequently, can act as a protective factor against the consumption of smoking substances.

Methods: We have analysed a structured questionnaire answered by 1935 adolescents from Tarragona (Spain).

Results: We have found that variables linked to family were the principal explanatory factors of adolescents’ smoking habits. Living with two parents was a protective factor against tobacco and cannabis use since its Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) was clearly below 1 (p<0.01). So, whereas living with one parent showed an IRR>1 (p<0.05), adolescents that live without parents presented an IRR close 2 (p<0.05 for tobacco and p<0.01 for cannabis). However, having a religious confession also influence smoking substance use in adolescents (IRR close 0.85 with p<0.01).

Conclusion: We found a clear preventive effect in belonging to a religious community. Moreover, this protective effect was less intense, but not statistically significant, for Catholics than for members of other confessions.

Author Biographies

Jorge de Andres-Sanchez, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

PhD, Associate Professor, Chair for Social Inclusion, Social and Business Research Laboratory, , Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

Angel Belzunegui-Eraso, Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

PhD, Director, Social and Business Research Laboratory, Chair for Social Inclusion, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

Sonia Fernández-Aliseda, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

MSc, Doctoral Student, Social and Business Research Laboratory, Chair for Social Inclusion, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain


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How to Cite

de Andres-Sanchez, J., Belzunegui-Eraso, A., & Fernández-Aliseda, S. . (2021). Religion as a Protective Factor Against Adolescent Smoking Habits: Evidence from Spain. Christian Journal for Global Health, 8(2), 16–23.