, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 148-153

Investigating adolescents’ sources of information concerning tobacco and the resulting impact on attitudes toward public policy

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Abstract

Background. In this study, we investigated different sources of information concerning the use of tobacco and the impact that these sources may have on attitudes toward tobacco policies. Methods. We surveyed 4336 high school students gathered from 5 high schools in the Southeastern United States. Results. The results indicate that just over half of these youth are supportive of public policies targeting bans on smoking in public places and having a minimum age to purchase tobacco products. Race is significant in impacting both age restriction and prohibition of smoking in public places, with African American youth being less supportive of both dependent variables. However, holding this variable constant in an ordinal logistic regression, we found that attitudes toward policy are impacted by the environment related to smoking in which the youth lives; the extent to which the youth believes he/she is well informed; and more important, the amount of correct and accurate information on smoking the youth possess. Conclusions. Communicating accurate information is vital in increasing youth support for pending or already existing tobacco policies.

Supported by Institutional Research Grant from the American Cancer Society Intramural Grant received by the University of Mississippi Medical Center.