Between 1996 and 1999, the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Inc., Atlanta, oversaw research on the etiology of tobacco use among teens of diverse ethnic and racial groups and on the most effective communication messages to prevent teen addiction to tobacco.
This project supplemented the second and third phases of the Tobacco Prevention Research Network (Tobacco Network), a consortium of 13 (originally 11) academic institutions established in 1995 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health.
Researchers conducted focus groups and in-depth interviews with youth ages 11 to 18. The grants also supported the Columbia Expert Marketing Panel, a group of youth marketing and tobacco counter-marketing experts, which convened to evaluate marketing influences on youth tobacco use and produced recommendations for effective counter-marketing directed at youth.
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine analyzed data from 110 in-depth interviews conducted during the first phase of the Tobacco Network.
Investigators published the following findings in Nicotine & Tobacco Research:
- Youth smoke for multiple and complex reasons.
- White youth and ethnic minorities had strongly different perceptions about the appropriateness of girls' smoking; African-American girls were strongest in their perception of smoking as "risky."
- Nonsmokers were seen as active youth who "did not have the time" to smoke.
- Smoking and smokers were viewed negatively (depressed, troubled), as having few positive activities in their lives, and as being involved in other risky activities.
- Family was a frequently cited source of messages, both pro- and anti-smoking, for youth of all groups.
- Nonwhite youth reported receiving consistently stronger messages about smoking and its consequences from their parents than did white youth. Nonwhite groups viewed smoking as disrespectful to or a bad reflection on parents.