Background: This paper examines whether the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program is affecting the rates of smoking and smokeless tobacco use among Massachusetts' youth.
Methods: School survey data from the Massachusetts Prevalence Study were analyzed to estimate differences between 1993 and 1996 rates of youth cigarette and smokeless tobacco use, attitudes toward smoking, and awareness of cigarette ads and promotions of antismoking messages.
Results: Lifetime and Current Smoking rates declined significantly among middle school males, contrasting with stable national trends. Among girls in this age group, Lifetime and Current Smoking did not change significantly. Hispanic middle school students exhibited a significant decline in Lifetime Use. There were no significant changes in Lifetime or Current Smoking rates among high school students. Lifetime use of smokeless tobacco declined among middle school students while Current Use declined among both middle and high school students. Students reported declines in awareness of cigarette ads or promotions and increases in awareness of antismoking messages.
Conclusions: These results provide evidence for cautious optimism regarding the impact of tobacco control, but indicate that these efforts should begin earlier and that additional research is needed to understand and address the problems of tobacco use by girls.
Copyright 2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.