Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to rank the factors associated with smoking according to their relative effect on the tendency to smoke. Design/methodology/approach – A probit procedure and ordinary least squares methods are used to analyze factors that affect the probability of being a smoker and factors that affect smoking intensity, as measured by the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Findings – The paper finds that a relative risk (RR) of smoking is highest for Arab males, especially those with only 11-12 years of schooling, married with more than five children or unmarried, while it is lowest for Arab females, especially those married with two to four children, or less than eight years of schooling. Originality/value – The findings indicate that certain characteristics are associated with much larger RR. Mainly, it is found that the RR of smoking is highest for Arab males who work 1-20 weekly hours, have 11-12 years of schooling, with more than five children or are unmarried, while it is lowest for married Arab females with two to four children, with less than eight years of schooling, who work 21-30 hours a week.
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