Youth Prevention

Research

Attitudes toward tobacco industry linked to smoking behavior
A study conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco has found that young adults’ attitudes towards the tobacco industry are associated with actual smoking behavior and intent to quit smoking. According to the research team, this is the first study to link attitudes about the tobacco industry and smoking behavior. The study measured the attitudes of 1,528 people between the ages of 18 and 25, the age bracket with the most current smokers in the U.S. Current smokers who had negative attitudes towards the tobacco industry were four times more likely to be planning to quit than smokers who did not exhibit negativity toward the industry. The results suggest that the trend towards anti-tobacco campaigns that focus on educating the public about the deceptive practices of the tobacco industry have had a positive impact on decreasing smoking. Click here to read more. Click here to read an abstract of the study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Improving education may cut smoking in youth
Research has shown that individuals of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to smoke, but a new study found that academic achievement can mitigate this effect. A study of 20,399 European schoolchildren found that above average academic achievement was associated with lower risk of smoking independent of socioeconomic status. The study’s findings did confirm that children from less advantaged backgrounds were more likely to perform at a lower level in school and more likely to become smokers when compared to youth from wealthier backgrounds. However, among the less advantaged children, those who did well in school were much less likely to smoke than those with lower academic achievement. Further research is needed to determine whether there is a causal relationship between academic achievement and a lower risk of smoking. Click here to read more. Click here to read an abstract of the study published in the May 2009 issue of the International Journal for Equity in Health.

High school students who tried to quit smoking cigarettes — United States, 2007
Youth cigarette smokers usually have smoked for a shorter time than their adult counterparts, yet many youth are unable to quit. The 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) showed that nearly two-thirds (60.9%) of students who ever smoked cigarettes daily tried to quit smoking cigarettes; however, among those who tried to quit, only 12.2% were successful. While the prevalence of success in quitting did not vary by sex or race/ethnicity, a greater proportion of smokers in ninth grade had been able to quit, compared to students in higher grades. These findings reinforce the need to fully implement and sustain comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs in conjunction with other community-based interventions, such as tobacco-use prevention programs in schools. Click here to read the full article in the May 1 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Uncovering the most effective active ingredients of antismoking public service announcements: The role of actor and message characteristics
A recent study identified the characteristics of anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs) that are most likely to influence youth not to smoke. PSAs were classified based on the likeability of the actors and type of anti-smoking message delivered. Youths aged 11-17 were asked to rate their ability to avoid smoking after viewing each of the PSAs. The most effective PSAs focused on the long-term effects of smoking, followed by those that featured the short-term effects of smoking. Whether an individual youth was classified as “at-risk for future tobacco use” did not affect the impact of the PSAs. Click here for more information.

Parental guidelines, consequences may be why fewer black teens smoke than whites
Although statistics have shown that black adults smoke at higher rates than white adults, black adolescents are less likely to smoke than white teenagers. New research by the University of Washington examined the influence of parental guidelines and consequences for smoking on teens’ behavior and found that black parents set more concrete guidelines and clearly defined consequences for substance use by their teenage children. The study found that 15% of black teens reported smoking in 10th grade compared to 22% of their white peers. The data also showed that regardless of race, teens who associated with deviant peers or who had a parent who smoked were more likely to also smoke. Click here to read more. Click here to read an abstract of the study published in the May 2009 edition of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Early childhood health interventions could save billions in health costs later in life
A systematic review published in the May 2009 issue of Academic Pediatrics found that health interventions targeting preschool aged children could save society $65 to $100 billion in future health care expenditures. The review examined four major health problems including early life tobacco exposure (prenatal exposure and environmental tobacco smoke), unintentional injury, obesity and mental health. The available evidence on the effectiveness of early childhood health interventions was strongest for preventing tobacco exposure and controlling unintentional injuries. The findings suggest that early childhood interventions addressing the four health issues examined in the study have a positive impact, particularly those to decrease youth tobacco exposure and reduce unintentional injuries. Click here to read more. Click here to read an abstract of the study.

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International

Are social norms associated with smoking in French university students? A survey report on smoking correlates (France)
French researchers recently attempted to determine whether social norms were predictors of tobacco use among college students, controlling for other factors associated with smoking. A cross sectional survey was completed by 721 second-year French university students. Eight variables were found to be significant predictors of smoking including marijuana use, binge drinking, being unsupportive of smoke-free universities, perceived approval of smoking by friends, high perceived smoking prevalence among friends, positive perceptions toward tobacco, reporting not being bothered by smoking at school, and being female. Based on these findings, the researchers suggest that university-based health campaigns should take into account the link between smoking and other substance abuse, students’ perceptions of smoking among friends (descriptive norms), and friends’ approval of smoking (injunctive norms). Click here to read the full study published in the April 2009 edition of the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy.

Comparing the effects of entertainment media and tobacco marketing on youth smoking in Germany (Germany)
A study comparing the relative influence of smoking in movies and tobacco industry marketing found that exposure to smoking in films was a much greater predictor of tobacco initiation than tobacco marketing among German adolescents aged 11 to 15. The longitudinal study surveyed 4,384 adolescents at baseline and one year later and assessed lifetime and current smoking. Individuals who had never smoked at baseline and were exposed to smoking in movies were much more likely to smoke one year later than individuals with minimal exposure to smoking in films. Tobacco marketing was not a predictor of increased tobacco use among never smokers but it did predict increased smoking among students who had smoked at baseline. The findings suggest that interventions aimed at preventing smoking prior to initiation should focus on reducing exposure to smoking in the media. Programs to reduce smoking among current smokers should target both smoking in movies and tobacco marketing. Click here to read an abstract of the study in the journal Addiction.

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