Saturation of tobacco smoking models and risk of alcohol and tobacco use among adolescents.J Adolesc Health. 2004 Sep; 35(3):190-6.JA
To examine how saturation of an adolescent's environment with models of cigarette smoking (e.g., parents, siblings, friends) affects the probability of tobacco and alcohol use among junior high and high school students.
The Health and Smoking Questionnaire was administered to 806 adolescents (182 smokers and 624 nonsmokers; 57.2% female) average age of 15.1 years (SD = 1.6) in a mid-size Midwestern town. The questionnaire contains standardized items in five domains: demographics, smoking status and history, perceptions of risk and risk reduction, risk factors for tobacco use, and parenting style.
Risk for smoking or using alcohol increased dramatically as the number of models who smoke increased in an adolescent's environment. For instance, adolescents with one significant other who smoked were nearly four times (OR = 3.76, p <.001) more likely to smoke than someone with no significant others who smoked. However, if an adolescent had four significant others who smoked, they were over 160 times more likely to smoke (OR = 161.25, p <.001). Similar results were found for alcohol use; adolescents who had one significant other who smoked were more than 2.5 (OR = 2.66, p <.001) times more likely to drink than those without smoking models. Adolescents who had four significant other smoking models were 13 times (OR = 13.08, p <.001) more likely to drink.
As the number of cigarette smokers in an adolescent's environment increases, risk of tobacco and alcohol use increases substantially. These data suggest that multiple models of tobacco use will substantially increase risk for substance use in adolescents.