The objective of the study was to describe a group of adolescents who have no smokers in their social environment and to examine their beliefs regarding the benefits of smoking. The design was a telephone survey. A population-based survey was conducted in California in 1990. There were 7,767 adolescent respondents between 12 and 17 years of age, 373 (5%) of whom were unexposed to smokers in their social environment. A positive response to any 1 of 5 questions concerning a belief in the benefits of smoking was the main outcome measure. In teenagers unexposed to smokers in their social environment 70% were 12 or 13 years of age compared to only 35% of teenagers exposed to smokers. Unexposed teenagers were more often female and more often white rather than Hispanic, African-American or Asian. After adjusting for demographic factors, unexposed teenagers were only one-quarter as likely as exposed teenagers to harbour a belief in the benefits of smoking. However, 40% of unexposed teenagers held such a belief with 28% believing that smoking helps people feel more comfortable in social situations, 19% believing that smoking helps people relax and 13% believing that smoking helps people keep their weight down. It is unlikely that the group of teenagers unexposed to smokers in their social environment acquired their beliefs about the benefits of smoking through contact with smokers. Cigarette advertising might be a likely source of these perceptions.
- Adolescent smoking
- Perceived benefits of smoking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
- Applied Mathematics
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health