Tobacco truths: the impact of role models on children's attitudes toward smoking

Health Educ Q. 1991 Summer;18(2):173-82. doi: 10.1177/109019819101800203.


The present study assessed the impact of parents, peers, siblings, cigarette advertising, and sponsorship as role models influencing attitudes toward smoking and smoking behavior in seventh- and eleventh-grade students. The participants completed an anonymous questionnaire concerning their current and future smoking behavior, attitudes toward a cigarette advertising ban, general attitudes toward smoking, and smoking status of parents and siblings. Fifty-one percent of the smokers reported that they are not likely to be smoking in the future. Smokers were found to have less negative attitudes than never smokers. Seventh-grade students who admitted to being triers or smokers had less negative attitudes toward smoking than eleventh-grade students. Parent smoking had no impact on attitudes. However, if a sibling smoked, the respondents' attitudes toward smoking were less negative. Students appeared to be more aware of sport sponsorship than conventional advertising. Most never smokers favored a total cigarette advertising ban, versus only 35% of smokers. Results from this study suggest that intervention programs need to address nicotine addiction and be in place before grade seven. Investigations is further warranted in the shaping of attitudes toward smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Male
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Peer Group
  • Role*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Sports
  • Surveys and Questionnaires