American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
October 28, 2016
1 min read

Adolescents' perceptions, behaviors may predict smoking initiation intent

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SAN FRANCISCO — The intention to initiate cigarette smoking was higher among adolescents who perceived quitting to be easy, according to study results presented at the 2016 AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

Therefore, the researchers suggest that healthcare professionals emphasize the difficulty of quitting smoking to reduce initiation rates.

“We obtained national samples of approximately thirty thousand 8th and 10th grade students from 2011-2014 from Monitoring the Future Study, and examined tobacco-related behaviors and perceptions that predict adolescents’ intent to initiate cigarette smoking,” Olusegun Owotomo, MD, MPH, lead researcher and doctoral student from the department of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin, told

Olusegun Owotomo

Intent to initiate smoking was measured based on participant responses to the question: “If you have never smoked, do you think you will try smoking cigarettes sometime this year?” Responses were categorized as either high or low intention. Owotomo and colleagues excluded those who reported smoking in the past (21.2%).

A binary logistic regression model revealed that 2.1% of participants highly intended to initiate smoking within the year.

“Study findings suggest that adolescents who perceived quitting cigarette smoking to be easy, who owned tobacco branded merchandise, and who had ever saved tobacco coupons were more likely to have high intentions to initiate cigarette smoking in the current year,” Owotomo said. “Adolescents who had been greatly influenced by antismoking ads were [28%] less likely to have high intentions to initiate cigarette smoking in the current year.”

In addition, students who tended to partake in more risk-taking behaviors and who believed their peers smoked were more inclined to initiate cigarette smoking. Overall, intent to initiate smoking occurred in a small but high-risk minority population.

“In order to reduce intentions to initiate cigarette smoking, some promising approaches may be for health educators, pediatricians, and other professionals involved in counseling or designing antismoking interventions for adolescents to emphasize the difficulty associated with quitting cigarette smoking,” Owotomo concluded. “Also, policies guiding ownership of tobacco branded merchandise and tobacco coupons should be revisited, and anti-smoking ads expanded to ensure wider reach.” – by Alaina Tedesco

Owotomo O, et al. Presented at: AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 22-25, 2016; San Francisco, California.

Disclosure: The researchers do not report any relevant financial disclosures.