Support for tobacco control policies among youth in North Carolina.N C Med J. 2006 May-Jun; 67(3):175-9.NC
The objective of this research was to examine attitudes toward tobacco control policies among middle and high school students in North Carolina. Specifically, we report data on knowledge of the harmfulness of secondhand smoke and support for restaurant and school-based smoking restrictions.
The statewide North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey was administered to a representative sample of 3,073 middle school and 3,261 high school students in the fall of 2003. The overall response rate for the middle and high school samples was 77.0% and 77.4%, respectively. Support for tobacco policies was analyzed by smoking status and by knowledge of the harmfulness of secondhand smoke
The vast majority of respondents in the middle school (87.6%) and high school (91.6%) reported that secondhand smoke was "definitely" or probably" harmful. However, less than half of middle school (48.6%) and high school (40.2%) students responded that smoking should be banned in restaurants. Even among the select group of students who had never smoked and who believed secondhand smoke was harmful, support for such a ban was less than 60% at both school levels.
Youth in North Carolina are aware of the health risks of secondhand smoke, but are not convinced of the need to restrict smoking in restaurants. These results point to the need for more youth-focused advocacy and education around smoking restrictions, both to reduce youth exposure to secondhand smoke and to solidify voter support for such protections once they reach adulthood.