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Peer influence leads teens to start, stop smoking -- but effect is stronger for starting
Date:6/11/2014

le to design programs that use peer pressure to positively influence behavior. For example, they could design programs to help nonsmoking adolescents help their smoking friends.

"We have to have a more nuanced view of influence," said Haas. "In reality, kids aren't all bad or all good and some friends who may not be a good influence in one area may actually be a positive influence in other areas."

The research may also apply to other aspects of adolescent behavior.

"This may apply well beyond smoking," said Haas. "There may be similar patterns in adolescent drinking, drug use, sex, and delinquency."

Even though smoking rates have declined, adolescent smoking remains a serious problem that has both health and economic costs. From 2000 to 2004, smoking and second-hand exposure to cigarettes were linked to 400,000 deaths, and smoking results in nearly $100 billion in lost productivity each year, according to the researchers.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Their sample data set included two high schools, with 757 and 1,673 student respondents, respectively. The data was collected at several times throughout the school year, giving researchers a chance to see not only how behaviors change, but also how networks of friendships evolve over time.


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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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