This study analyzes the important and influential role that parents can play in modifying adolescents' smoking behavior after being exposed to pro-smoking messages seen in the media.
We used data from the Oklahoma Youth Tobacco Survey of 2002. The data is collected by self-administered questionnaire administered to high school students. We grouped exposure into two categories by merging original responses obtained from the survey. We used Multivariate Logistic Regression models to determine any association between exposure to pro-smoking messages seen in media and adolescents'smoking status after controlling for age, sex, gender and extent of parental discussion.
Adolescents who lived with someone who smokes and whose parents did not discuss the adverse effects of smoking were almost twice as likely to smoke (OR= 2.03, 95% CI 1.4, 3.0) under the influence of smoking seen on TV or in movies, as those not exposed (p = 0.0004). The odds of smoking among adolescents who are exposed "most of the time" while living with someone who smokes and parents who often discuss the dangers of smoking are 1.75 (CI = 0.81, 3.76) times higher compared to those who are never exposed. However the results are not significant (p = 0.16). Similarly, the odds of adolescents smoking are much less (OR = 1.48, 95% CI 1, 2.2) if they are exposed to lower levels of pro-smoking messages and live with someone who smokes even if parents don't discuss the harmful effects of smoking. Adolescents are more likely to smoke depending on the number of close friends who smoke.
Our results show that parents can play an important role in protecting adolescents from the effects of pro-smoking messages in the media. Adolescents whose parents discuss the dangers of smoking are less likely to smoke even if they live with a smoker and are exposed to media smoking most of the time.