Correlates of the Length of Quitting Among Adolescent Regular Smokers: Findings From a National Study
Methods: Using data from the 2009 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 953 adolescent regular smokers (Weighted N=1,175,407) in grades 6 through 12 are selected. For the current study, the sample consists of 77% white, 6% black, and 17% Latino/Hispanic adolescent regular smokers. Regular smokers are conceptualized as those who smoked greater than and equal to 100 cigarettes in a lifetime and smoked in the last 30 days (CDC, 2004). The length of quitting consist of three categories (0=’I have never tried to quit,’ 1=’less than 30 days,’ and 2=’30 days or more’). SAS PROC SURVEYLOGISTIC was used for weighted logit models for ordered polytomies to identify predictors of the length of quitting among adolescent regular smokers.
Findings: Findings showed that nearly half of regular smokers (49.6%) stayed off cigarettes for less than 30 days; and 15% did so for more than 30 days. Logit models showed that being black youths, greater perception of safety of smoking for only one year or two, and greater receptivity to tobacco marketing negatively predicted less-than-30-day quitters, whereas greater awareness of harmful effects of secondhand smoking positively predicted less-than-30-day quitters (vs. smokers who have never tried to quit). More days absent from school negatively predicted more-than-30-day quitters, while greater awareness of harmful effects of secondhand smoking, home smoking restrictions, and refusal of cigarettes from close friends positively predicted more-than-30-day quitters (vs. smokers who have never tried to quit).
Implications: Findings recommend that practitioners integrate unique differences in the predictors of the length of quitting into smoking cessation programs for adolescent regular smokers. For example, programs may focus on reducing negative intrapersonal variables such as perception of safety of smoking for only one year or two, and receptivity to tobacco marketing as the first step to quit smoking. In addition, the programs may focus on reducing negative interpersonal variables such as number of days absent from school and promoting positive interpersonal variables such as home smoking restrictions and skills for refusing to smoke as later steps to stay quit. Additionally, throughout the programs, education on harmful effects of secondhand smoking should be accentuated.