ERIC Number: EJ779552
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Adolescents Discriminate between Types of Smokers and Related Risks
Rubinstein, Mark L.; Halpern-Felsher, Bonnie L.; Thompson, Pamela J.; Millstein, Susan G.
Journal of Adolescent Research, v18 n6 p651-663 2003
Many studies concerning cigarette smoking and smoking-related outcomes among adolescents use categories such as "casual" or "regular" smoker to define different types of smokers. It is not clear whether adolescents themselves differentiate between different types of smokers. The present study sought to examine whether and how adolescents discriminate between categories of smokers and how these discriminations engender different perceptions of risk attributable to smoking. Five hundred and fifty ninth graders (mean age 14) who reported never smoking tobacco completed a self-administered survey concerning smoking attitudes and beliefs. Adolescents discriminated significantly between nonsmokers, casual smokers, smokers, and addicted smokers, based on both frequency of smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked. Addicted smokers were perceived as having the greatest chance of experiencing negative outcomes, followed by the smoker, the casual smoker, and last, the nonsmoker. Finally, adolescents ascribed a far greater chance of quitting smoking to casual smokers than they did to either regular or addicted smokers. Understanding how adolescents define and discriminate between types of smokers has important implications for smoking-related interventions, especially concerning how we communicate about risks of smoking.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 9
Authoring Institution: N/A