Tomorrow's Tobacco Addicts: Examining Age and Sex Differences in Predictors of Increased Smoking Regularity Among Juvenile Smokers

Stacey D. Nofziger, Kansas State University
Hye-Ryeon Lee, Arizona Cancer Center

This study examines pedictors of increased regularity of smoking among youth who have already initiated smoking. If we can determine what leads these juveniles to escalated levels of smoking, we may be able to develop more effective stop smoking campaigns. Our data is drawn from a survey of 7,521 students from middle and high schools in Tucson, AZ. Results indicate that there are different predictors of regular smoking by sex that also vary by age. Although various peer influences are important for all age and sex groups, among 7th and 8th graders, very few other predictors of smoking initiation are significant predictors of increased smoking regularity. Increased smoking among boys for both age groups appears to be part of a pattern of general deviance. For younger girls, smoking regularity is largely predicted by exposure to tobacco promotion and older girls are influenced by the belief that smoking will control their weight. Due to the differences in predictors of smoking regularity for the different ages and sexes, it is argued that different smoking cessation programs are needed for boys and girls.

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Updated 05/20/2006