Author(s): Riou Frana L, Dautzenberg B, Falissard B, Reynaud M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the correlates of smoking is a first step to successful prevention interventions. The social norms theory hypothesises that students' smoking behaviour is linked to their perception of norms for use of tobacco. This study was designed to test the theory that smoking is associated with perceived norms, controlling for other correlates of smoking. METHODS: In a pencil-and-paper questionnaire, 721 second-year students in sociology, medicine, foreign language or nursing studies estimated the number of cigarettes usually smoked in a month. 31 additional covariates were included as potential predictors of tobacco use. Multiple imputation was used to deal with missing values among covariates. The strength of the association of each variable with tobacco use was quantified by the inclusion frequencies of the variable in 1000 bootstrap sample backward selections. Being a smoker and the number of cigarettes smoked by smokers were modelled separately. RESULTS: We retain 8 variables to predict the risk of smoking and 6 to predict the quantities smoked by smokers. The risk of being a smoker is increased by cannabis use, binge drinking, being unsupportive of smoke-free universities, perceived friends' approval of regular smoking, positive perceptions about tobacco, a high perceived prevalence of smoking among friends, reporting not being disturbed by people smoking in the university, and being female. The quantity of cigarettes smoked by smokers is greater for smokers reporting never being disturbed by smoke in the university, unsupportive of smoke-free universities, perceiving that their friends approve of regular smoking, having more negative beliefs about the tobacco industry, being sociology students and being among the older students. CONCLUSION: Other substance use, injunctive norms (friends' approval) and descriptive norms (friends' smoking prevalence) are associated with tobacco use.University-based prevention campaigns should take multiple substance use into account and focus on the norms most likely to have an impact on student smoking.
This article was published in Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy
and referenced in Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy