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Peer Pressure to Smoke Greater in Middle School Than High School: Study


Parents’ smoking behavior influences their teens’ decisions about cigarette use throughout high school, a new study suggests. Peer pressure to smoke is greater during middle school than high school, according to researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

The findings indicate smoking intervention programs designed to counteract peer pressure to smoke should be aimed at middle school students, instead of high school students, the researchers report in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The findings on peer pressure were surprising to the researchers, HealthDay reports. “We thought friends would have more influence on cigarette use during high school than junior high school,” said study author Yue Liao. “But what we found was friends have greater influence during junior high school than high school. We think the reason may be that friends’ cigarette use behavior may have a stronger influence on youth who start smoking at a younger age,” she noted in a press release. “During high school, cigarette use might represent the maintenance of behavior rather than a result of peer influence.”

The study included 1,000 teens who were first questioned in seventh grade. They were reassessed after six months, and then annually until they were in twelfth grade. They answered questions about how many of their close friends and parents smoked, and how many cigarettes they themselves had smoked in the past month. They saw a large decrease in friends’ influence from eighth to ninth grade.

2 Responses to this article

  1. said / June 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    never do that because it is bad

  2. Avatar of Carol
    Carol / July 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Wow, that is a shocking find that younger kids are actually more prone to smoking than older teens. Great post to raise awareness to the fact so that hopefully action can be taken by parents and/or schools to minimize this.

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