Two Factors Highly Predictive of Youth Smoking..

July 16, 2008 - Kids who can get their hands easily on cigarettes -- say from friends or close acquaintances -- are more likely to end up with a regular smoking habit, a new study of sixth-graders finds. (Chyke A. Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H., et al., Perceived Accessibility as a Predictor of Youth Smoking, Annals of Family Medicine July/August 2008)

Sixth graders' answers to two questions – "Do you have friends who smoke?" and "Would it be easy for you to get a cigarette?" – predict becoming a regular smoker by the tenth grade. In this prospective study of 1,195 Massachusetts students, researchers found the perception that cigarettes were easy to obtain increased the risk for smoking initiation and regular tobacco use among respondents. Having peers who smoke increased the impact of perceived accessibility. The authors conclude that youths who have peer smokers and perceive easy access may be at high risk for higher levels of smoking and may warrant greater attention in clinical and public health settings. They recommend clinicians routinely ask youths about their perceptions of the accessibility of tobacco and exposure to peer smokers.

Reference: Youth Smoking Predicted By Perceived Access To Cigarettes, Medical News Today, 7/15/2008.

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