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