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Tobacco-related media and advertising, school status, and the stages of smoking
initiation among adolescents in Maryland

Jennifer L. Malson*, B.A., Janine C. Delahanty, M.A., Amanda L. Gmyrek, M.A., Carlo C. DiClemente, Ph.D.,
University of  Maryland, Baltimore County

Corresponding Author:
Jennifer L. Malson
Department of Psychology
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, Maryland 21250
Email: jmalson1@umbc.edu
In order to reduce cigarette use among adolescents, factors that affect movement through the stages of smoking initiation must be explored.  Exposure to tobacco-related media and advertising represent one such influence.  The present analyses explored the relation between the stages of smoking initiation and exposure to tobacco-related media and advertising using the Transtheoretical model (TTM).  Participants were Maryland public school students (N = 47,924) with ages ranging from 12-18 years old.  The majority of the sample was female (52%), Caucasian (69.2%), and enrolled in high school (59%).  A secondary analysis of data was conducted on the Maryland Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS, 2000), a classroom-based survey designed to examine smoking-related variables among youth in the state of Maryland.  Students were classified according to the stages of smoking initiation and by school status (i.e., Middle School [MS] vs. High School [HS]).  Logistic regression analyses compared the relative increase in odds of saying “yes” on an outcome by stage and school status.  HS students in maintenance were 9 times more likely to report positive intentions to use/wear tobacco-related merchandise than HS students in precontemplation (p < .001).   In contrast, MS students in maintenance were almost 20 times more likely to use/wear merchandise than MS students in precontemplation (p < .001).  Significant differences were also found across stage and school status for media-related variables.  Reducing exposure to tobacco-related media and advertising among MS students may be more influential in preventing experimentation and cigarettes use among adolescents.