Attitudes Toward Anti-tobacco Policy Among California Youth: Associations with Smoking Status, Psychosocial Variables and Advocacy Actions

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Environmental Policy | Health Policy | Mental and Social Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Substance Abuse and Addiction


To prevent smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, California has implemented anti-tobacco policies, including laws restricting youth access to tobacco, and smoking bans in workplaces, schools, restaurants and bars. Although studies have examined adults' attitudes toward anti-tobacco policies, little is known about adolescents' awareness of and support for these policies. This study examined attitudes toward anti-tobacco policies in a sample of 6887 10th grade California adolescents. Awareness of anti-tobacco policies was highest among current smokers and lowest among susceptible never-smokers. Support for anti-tobacco policies was highest among non-susceptible never-smokers and lowest among current smokers. Policy awareness and support were significantly associated with psychosocial tobacco-related variables (e.g. perceived consequences of smoking, friends' smoking, perceived access to cigarettes, prevalence estimates of smoking among peers, cigarette offers and cigarette refusal self-efficacy). Policy awareness and support were associated with the probability of performing advocacy actions against tobacco use. Although these results cannot prove a causal association, they suggest that adolescents' attitudes toward anti-tobacco policies may play a role in their decisions about smoking. Tobacco control and education programs should include information about existing anti-tobacco policies, and should educate youth about the importance and benefits of anti-tobacco policies.

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© 1999 Oxford University Press