Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Normal Is Smoking? Teens Don't Know, But Their Guesses Affect Their Habits

Date:
May 18, 2007
Source:
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Summary:
The more a high school student overestimates the percentage of people in the general population who smoke cigarettes, the more likely he or she will be to smoke, according to a recent study. And, nine out of ten (93 percent) high school students overestimate the percentage of people who smoke in the United States.

The more a high school student overestimates the percentage of people in the general population who smoke cigarettes, the more likely he or she will be to smoke, reports a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study published in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The study sheds new light on this and other identifiable risk factors that may make teenagers susceptible to smoking and offers findings that may be particularly valuable for smoking intervention programs.

The study identifies three distinct ways to measure “normative beliefs” involving smoking, each of which it found to be significantly related to adolescents’ likelihoodof smoking. According to the study:

  • The more an adolescent perceived that successful and elite people smoke cigarettes, the more likely that adolescent was to smoke.
  • The more strongly an adolescent perceived that his or her parents or peers disapproved of smoking, the less likely that adolescent was to smoke.
  • The more an adolescent overestimated the percentage of smokers in the general population, the more likely that adolescent was to smoke.

According to the study, nine out of 10 (93 percent) high school students overestimate the percentage of people who smoke in the United States. On average, they believe over half (56 percent) of Americans are smokers, while the actual figure is less than half that.

“These findings are of value to those who devote themselves to smoking intervention programs geared to teenage audiences,” said lead author, Brian Primack, M.D., Ed.M., assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., so any new information is welcome. Adolescents have important misconceptions about cigarette smoking that can place them at increased risk for smoking.”

More than 1,200 high school students who participated in the study were assigned normative beliefs scores based on their responses to survey items. Studentsresponded whether they agreed or disagreed with statements such as:

  • “Most successful business people smoke cigarettes at least once a month.”
  • “ In general, more ‘cool’ people smoke cigarettes than ‘uncool’ people.”
  • “ Wealthy people are more likely to smoke cigarettes than poor people.”
  • “ My favorite celebrities probably smoke cigarettes at least once a month.”

The students also responded to “perceived disapproval” statements, such as:

  • “According to my parents, it is very important for me not to smoke cigarettes.”
  • “ According to my friends, it is very important for me not to smoke cigarettes.”
  • “ According to most people my age, it is very important for me not to smoke cigarettes.”

Finally, students were asked what percent of high school students and adults in the United States they thought smoked at least once each month.

Other study authors include Galen E. Switzer, Ph.D., also of the University of Pittsburgh, and Madeline A. Dalton, Ph.D., of the Dartmouth Medical School. The study was funded by the Maurice Falk Foundation and Tobacco-Free Allegheny. Dr. Primack is currently supported by the National Cancer Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "How Normal Is Smoking? Teens Don't Know, But Their Guesses Affect Their Habits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517110542.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. (2007, May 18). How Normal Is Smoking? Teens Don't Know, But Their Guesses Affect Their Habits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517110542.htm
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "How Normal Is Smoking? Teens Don't Know, But Their Guesses Affect Their Habits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517110542.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins