Public Health Rep
Cigarette smoking is the primary preventable cause of mortality and morbidity in the US. But in the mid-1990s, more than one-third of US teenagers were smokers, despite their awareness of the health risks and negative consequences of tobacco use. In 1996, as part of a three-year qualitative study to explore differences in adolescent smoking by gender and ethnicity, members of the Tobacco Control Network examined messages that teens receive about cigarette smoking. Consisting of 178 focus groups with 1,175 teenagers covering all levels of smoking experience, the study included teens from five ethnic groups, stratified by gender and ethnicity, from urban and rural areas across the US. The authors reviewed the sources and content of messages that teens reported were most influential in their decisions to smoke or not smoke cigarettes. Family and peers, school, television, and movies were the primary sources for both pro- and anti-smoking messages. The authors conclude that a lack of clear, consistent antismoking messages leaves teens vulnerable to the influences of pro-smoking messages from a variety of sources. Interventions need to be culture- and gender- specific. Family-based interventions appear to be needed and efficacious, but resource intensive. Building self-esteem may prove to be a promising intervention.
116 Suppl 1
3430, Adolescent, Adolescent Behavior: ethnology: psychology, APBRN, Child, Culture, Data Collection, decision, differences, Ethnic Groups, Family, Female, Focus Groups, Health, Health Promotion: methods, Human, intervention, Knowledge,Attitudes,Practice, Male, Mass Media, Morbidity, Mortality, Peer Group, Persuasive Communication, Primary Prevention, Public Health Practice, Risk, Smoking, Smoking: ethnology: prevention & control: psychology, Social Perception, Support,U.S.Gov't,P.H.S., United States: epidemiology