A comparative analysis of factors influencing smoking behaviors of college students, 1963-1987 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8s45qd12v

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  • Cigarette smoking continues to be one of the country's major health concerns. It has been defined as the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Although research has indicated that overall cigarette consumption has decreased in the nation over the past decades, cigarette smoking remains a significant problem among young people in the United States. This fact, coupled with studies indicating that cigarette smoking increases with age into the early twenties suggests that research should be conducted to determine those variables that encourage smoking behavior of late adolescents and young adults. The purpose of the study was to compare the relationship between selected predisposing factors and subsequent smoking behaviors exhibited in 1963 and 1987 respectively. Assessments of smoking behaviors of college students in Oregon in 1963-64 and 1986-87 were conducted to determine relationships between students smoking behaviors and selected socio-demographic variables. Comparisons were made between the resulting data for students in the 1963-64and 1986-87 studies. Aquestionnaire relating to smoking behavior was developed and administered to 3,786 college students attending introductory personal health classes during the 1963-64 school year at four selected colleges in the state of Oregon. During the 1986-87 school year a modified version of the questionnaire was developed and administered to college students attending introductory personal health classes at three of the same four universities that were utilized in the 1963-64 study. Stepwise logistic regression, chi square and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that there were significantly more smokers in 1963-64 and their daily consumption rates were significantly higher when compared to 1986-87 data. Although a larger percentage of females were smokers in the total population surveyed in 1963-64, there were more female smokers in the population of smokers in 1986-87. Whereas males consumed significantly more cigarettes per day than did females in 1963-64, there was no significant difference between male and female consumption rates in 1986-87. Significant numbers of smokers in 1986-87 started smoking at an earlier age than did smokers in 1963-64. When separating by gender, this was significant for females but not for males. Peer smoking was listed as the number one reason for starting to smoke by more than half of the respondents in 1986-87 as compared to 40% who listed curiosity in 1963-64. Physical reasons were indicated as the main reason for quitting by ex-smokers in 1963-64 and in 1986-87, over one half of the respondents indicated that they quit because of a concern for their physical health. Stepwise logistic regression equations were used to determine the set of variables that best accounted for smoking status in 1963-64 and 1986-87. Results indicated that the variables which predisposed individuals toward subsequent smoking behavior did differ when comparing the two studies. In 1963-64, an individual with the highest probability of smoking was one who had one or more older sisters who smoked, both parents smoked, father was a high school non-graduate and was from an urban setting. The individual with the lowest probability of smoking in 1963-64 had no older sisters who smoked, mother and father did not smoke, father was a high school graduate and lived in a rural setting. In 1986-87, the only variable to significantly increase the probability of an individual smoking was one or more older brothers who smoked. The following data were collected only for the 1986-87 population of students because questions relating to these issues were not included on the 1963-64 questionnaire. Use of alcohol, marijuana and smokeless tobacco by cigarette smokers was not significantly different when compared to non-smokers. Illicit substance use (cocaine, crack, heroin, quaaludes, etc) was significantly different for cigarette smokers and non-smokers. Smokers were more likely to use illicit substances than were non-smokers. The largest number of smokeless tobacco users were males in the 18-19 age category. Use of alcohol, marijuana and other illicit substances were significantly different for smokeless tobacco users than for non-users. Smokeless tobacco users were more likely to consume more alcohol on a weekly basis and use marijuana and illicit substances on an occasional and regular basis than were non-users of smokeless tobacco.
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