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Article | Why has adolescent smoking declined dramatically?

This recently published article in BMJ Open considers the decline in adolescent smoking in New Zealand. See the full article here:

Why has adolescent smoking declined dramatically? Trend analysis using repeat cross-sectional data from New Zealand 2002-2015

Comment

Smoking among secondary school students has declined dramatically since the turn of the century, and ASPIRE researchers want to find out why. This recently published study explores the extent to which changes in parental smoking, older sibling smoking, best friend smoking, and exposure to smoking in the home explain declining smoking in Year 10 students, 2003-2015.

The findings show that, of these factors, only declining best friend smoking contributed to the decline in adolescent smoking. “We were surprised to find that parental smoking, older sibling smoking and exposure to smoking in the home had not contributed at all” says lead author, Jude Ball. “And because survey respondents and their best friends belong to the same adolescent population in which smoking is declining, ‘best friend smoking’ doesn’t help explain why smoking is declining at the population level. So we’ve ruled out some possible factors, but are yet to identify the key drivers.”

Research is continuing, with a focus on attitudes to substance use, broader contextual factors like family attachment and school attachment, and possible knock-on effects from declining alcohol and drug use.  “Trends are strikingly similar in countries with very different tobacco policy contexts, and there have also been declines in other ‘risky’ behaviours like binge drinking and dangerous driving among adolescents. These facts put into question whether the decline in adolescent smoking is all about successful tobacco control interventions.”

Citation

Ball, J., Sim, D., Edwards, R. (2018) Why has adolescent smoking declined dramatically? Trend analysis using repeat cross-sectional data from New Zealand 2002–2015 BMJ Open 2018;8:e020320. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020320

For more information, please contact:

Jude Ball
University of Otago, Wellington
email jude.ball@otago.ac.nz