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Parental guidelilnes, consequences may be why fewer black teens smoke than whites
Date:5/14/2009

and consequences for substance use. Not surprisingly, black and white teens whose parents smoked reported higher levels of smoking than teens whose parents were non-smokers.

Skinner and her Social Development Research Group colleagues Kevin Haggerty and Richard Catalano collected data from a larger Seattle study designed to prevent substance abuse. The smoking study looked at 331 families - 163 black and 168 white with slightly more boys than girls.

Skinner thinks rates of smoking among blacks accelerate after leaving high school, a time when many black adolescents are not going to college and move away from their parents' home. She is following the same pool of teenagers in this study to assess their levels of smoking in a follow-up project.

So what can parents do to discourage teen smoking and other substance use? Skinner suggests:

  • talking about smoking and substance use directly and not ignoring the topic.
  • establishing family guidelines about smoking and moderate consequences for breaking those guidelines.
  • keeping communication open so you know what your teen is doing and to maintain a strong relationship.

"These things can be hard to do in the real heat of life," Skinner said. "Getting support from other adults in the child's life, such as teachers, is key. Parenting is the most important thing we do, so we shouldn't hesitate to get help.

"We know family-based interventions can be effective and specific skills to promote healthy development in teens are pretty easily acquired if parents are given good instruction."


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Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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