Adolescent smoking continuation: reduction and progression in smoking after experimentation and recent onset

J Behav Med. 2006 Oct;29(5):435-47. doi: 10.1007/s10865-006-9065-4. Epub 2006 Jul 20.


In the present study, the role of cognitive concepts derived from the Theory of Planned Behavior in adolescent smoking reduction, continuation, and progression was investigated. These concepts include pro-smoking attitudes, perceived social norms regarding smoking, and self-efficacy to resist smoking. Logistic regression analyses were performed on data from 397 Dutch adolescents aged 11-15 years, who had at least once tried smoking. Attitudes, perceived social norms, and self-efficacy, including significant interactions between these three concepts, explained up to 41% of variance in smoking behavior cross-sectionally. Longitudinally, an interaction between pro-smoking attitudes and low self-efficacy increased the chance of reduction in smoking, and all three cognitions inclusive of two interactions between pro-smoking perceived social norms and low self-efficacy or positive attitudes towards smoking predicted progression of smoking. Cognitions may play relatively small roles in adolescent smoking reduction, but do seem to be relevant in progression in smoking after experimentation or recent onset. Interactions between positive attitudes towards smoking and prosmoking perceived social norms provide cumulative risks for adolescents to increase their levels of smoking, whereas interactions between less favorable attitudes and high self-efficacy to resist smoking may provide a protective effect for adolescents to reduce or to quit their smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Social Conformity