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Essay/Term paper: Teens and smoking

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science Research Papers

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Teens and Smoking


Cigarette smoking is of interest to the National Institute on Drug Abuse both
because of the public health problems associated with this form of substance
abuse and because this behavior represents a prototypic dependence process. In
the past few years the government has made every effort to reach the masses, in
an attempt to curb the exploitation of tobbacco use, and its acceptance among
Americas Youngsters. However, cigarette smoking among adolescents is on the

The premise that the behavior of adolescents is influenced by the behavior of
their parents is central to many considerations of health and social behavior
(Ausubel, Montemayor, & Svajiian, 1977; Bandura & Walters, 1963). Many young
people between 10-18 years of age experiment with smoking, smoking is a
personal choice, and usually exploratory in nature. Typically, it takes place
in rather young people and is largely dependent on: first, the availability of
opportunity to engage in the behavior, second, having a fairly high degree of
curiosity about the effects of the behavior; third, in finding it a way of
expressing either conformity to the behavior or others (such as parents, older
siblings or peers), forth, as in "Miller and Dollar's" explanation of
Observational Learning, The Copying behavior effect.

This research is to examine the effects of parental smoking (behavior), has, on
the decision of teens to smoke cigarettes. Due to prior studies using global
measures that may or may not include South Eastern North Carolina. The
Fayetteville/Fort Bragg area was chosen for this study to pinpoint the effects
in this particular locale. Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base have a very
diverse socieo-economic and culturally diverse population, which will have a
positive effect on randomness of sample selection. With this association in
mind, this researcher is interested in knowing if there is a relationship of
Parental influence on Teen Smoking within this Military Community.


The prevalence of cigarette smoking among young teenagers is a growing
problem in the United States, many young people between the ages of 10-18 are
experimenting with tobacco. During the 1040's and 50's smoking was popular and
socially acceptable. Movie stars, sports heroes, and celebrities appeared in
cigarette advertisements that promoted and heavily influenced teens. Influence
also came from Television and other media sources. The desires to be accepted
and to feel grown up are among the most common reasons to start smoking. Yet,
even though teenagers sometimes smoke to gain independence, and to be part of
the crowd parental influence plays the strongest role as to whether or their
children will smoke, Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 1991.
Children are exposed to and influenced by the parents, siblings, and the media
long before peer pressure will become a factor. Mothers should not smoke during
pregnancy, nicotine, which crosses the placental barrier, may affect the female
fetus during an important period of development so as to predispose the brain
to the addictive influence of nicotine. Prenatal exposure to smoking has
previously been linked with impairments in memory, learning, cognition, and
perception in the growing child. (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 1995)
Subsequent follow-up after 12 years suggest that regardless of the amount or
duration of current or past maternal smoking, the strongest correlation between
maternal smoking and a daughter's smoking occurred when the mother smoked
during pregnancy. NIDA also reported that of 192 mothers and their first born
adolescents with a mean age of 12 1/2, the analysis revealed that 26.6% of the
girls whose mother smoked while pregnant had smoked in the past year.

The 1991 smoking prevalence estimate of 25.7% is virtually no different from the
previous year's estimate of 25.5%. If current trends persist, we will not meet
one of the nation's health objectives, particularly a smoking prevalence of no
more than 15% by the year 2000. When comparing the use of alcohol, cigarettes,
and other drugs, only cigarette use did not decline substantially among high
school senior among 1981 to 1991. In contrast studies performed by "household
survey" by the NIDA and the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control) in 1991 and 92
respectively, suggested that the strongest influence on teenage smoking is
parents. Research also revealed that approximately three fourths of adult
regular smokers smoke their first cigarette before the age of 18. This data was
acquired while trying to determine the brand preferences of young smokers to
determine what encouraged them to smoke and to suggest smoking prevention or
smoking cessation strategies, the studies found that in over 80% of the
households surveyed, one or both parents smoked. Many teenagers begin smoking
to feel grow-up. However, if they are still smoking when they reach 30, the
reason is no longer to feel like an adult; at this point, they are smoking from
habit. Goodwin, D. W., Guze, S. B. (1984). Young children who see older
children or family members smoking cigarettes are going to equate smoking with
being grown up. Patterns of both drinking and smoking, which are closely
associated, are strongly influenced by the lifestyles of family members peers
and by the environments in which they live. Minimal, moderate, and heavy levels
of drinking, smoking, and drug use, among family members are strongly
associated with very similar patterns of use among adolescents. Bentler, P.,
Newcoomb, M., (1989). Parents who smoke and wish they didn't should
concentrate on their own efforts to stop and hope that their offspring get the

Another good view of smoking among young people can be obtained from the federal
government's Annual National Survey of drug use among seniors, and now other
high school students. Reports of cigarette use in the past years have declined
since the peak of almost 40% in 1975. The 30% mark was crossed in 1981, with a
very gradual further decline to 25.7% in 1991 and increased to 27.8% in 1992,
Johnston, O'Malley, (1993). According to cognitive social learning theory, boys
and girls learn appropriate behavior through reinforcement and modeling. To
date, numerous studies have examined parental influence on teenage smoking and
has yielded equivocal results Due to the implications of cigarette smoking
behavior for the public health and the view that smoking is the prototypical
dependence process. Research taken from the TAPS (Teen-age Attitudes and
practices Survey) 1992, reported that if parents smoke, their children are more
likely to smoke. In regions of the United States that was surveyed, it was
documented that 9135 of 11609 (79%), of the respondents to the survey of
teenage smokers lived in households where one or both parents/guardians smoked
tobacco. This information was taken from household samples of adolescents ages
12-18 done by a computer Assisted Telephone interviewing system (CAT). The
goal of this research is to focus upon the systematic compilation of data
collected in this survey/correlation study and serve as a basis for designing
feasible and effective treatment strategies as well as enhance our
understanding of dependence associated with cigarette smoking and substance

Method Design

Questions will be of nominal and rating format (attached), Non respondents will
not be included in the study. The questions (10), will be on a 8 1/2x 11 sheet
of paper. The questions will be divided into three categories, (health history
of parents present smoking habits, and general. The Dependent variable used in
this study is adolescent smoking behavior.


A total of 500 teens male and female 14-18 years old, randomly selected from
various areas around the Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, and Fayetteville area.
$2 will be given in exchange for participation.


Questionnaires will be given to individuals upon their approval to participate
in the study, a number two pencil will be used to write with.


Participants will be chosen at random from either the Post Exchange and the
movie theaters of the Fort Bragg area. Participation will be voluntary after an
explanation of the study. Since this research involve minors, each
participants will sign a release form. Each respondent will be allotted 15
minutes to complete the questionnaire, and not to discuss the contents with
other participants. However participants, will be told that they can discuss
this issue with parents/guardians. A phone number of the researcher will be
given to each respondent in case of any afterthoughts. Non respondents will not
be included in the study. The questions (10), will be on a 8 1/2x 11 sheet of
paper and consist of both, true/false, and nominal data, yes/no. The questions
will be divided into three categories, (health history of parents present
smoking habits, and general. chi-square and t-distribution statistics will be
used to identify significant differences between sub samples.


Bauman, K. E., Foshee, V. A., Linzer, M. A., Koch, G. G. (1990).
Effect of parental smoking classification on the association between parental
and adolescent smoking. Addictive-behaviors, 15,(5), 413-422.
Horevitz, M. J., (1985). Disasters and psychological responses to
stress. Psychiatric Annals, 15, 161-167.
Hu, F. B. Flak, B. R., Hedeker, D. (1995). The inlfuence of friends
and parental smoking on adolescent smoking behavior. Journal of Applied Social
Psychology, v4 (3), 215-225.
Jessor, R. (1993). Successful adolescent development among high-risk
settings, American Psychologist, 48, 117-126.
Johnston, L., O'Malley, P., Bachman, J. (1988). Drug use among
American high school students, College students and other young adults.
National trends through 1991. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Research Monograph Series, (1979). Cigarette Smoking as a dependence
Process. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 23


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