The rate of Smoking in adolescents has been on the increase in the recent past with children as young as 10 years smoking up to a pack a day. Even though there have been extensive campaigns to deter children from smoking through the media and formulation of regulations, smoking among adolescents has been steadily rising.
Furthermore, the risks associatedwith smoking such as cancerand heart disease bear a heavy burden to the families of affected children and the society. The healthcare costs involved in managing such conditions is so high necessitating preventive rather than curative measures hence the need to identify determinants of smoking habits in adolescents (Barnett, Gauvin, Lambert, O’Loughlin, Paradis & McGrath, 2007).
Legislation plays a major role in controlling the habit of smoking among adolescents. Countries that have legislation against sale and distribution of tobacco and its products have lower rates of smoking among adolescents. Legislation is a crucial deterrent to errant behaviours such as smoking and aims at safeguarding minors from influences beyond their control.
Legislation that works involves policies that affect all spheres of the society, starting from home to the school environment and to the work place. Countries like Australia that have among the world’s lowest incidence have put in place proper legislation that prohibit tobacco shops from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors and teens (Aveyard, Markham& Lancashire,2004).
To reduce incidences of smoking, some countries have raised the age permissible for smoking from 16 years to 18 years in the hope that the raised age will reduce the number of adolescents accessing tobacco hence in turn reducing the number of smoking adolescents. Proper legislation may go along way in reducing the rate of smoking in adolescents.
To investigate the relationship between smoking culture in adolescents and current legislation
Scope of Research
The research will entail review of existing legislation on smoking especially that affecting individuals below the age of 18 years. This will involve reviewing of legislature in different states across the country that is targeted in curbing smoking in adolescents.
Previous research undertaken has clearly elaborated the problem of smoking among adolescents both in school and out of it. One such study explored the association between smoking behaviour among secondary school children and smoking policies in their respective schools.
It was observed that policies on smoking had a big impact on the number of smoking adolescents. In those schools that had no policy prohibiting smoking recorded higher numbers of smoking adolescents. Furthermore, selective application of the law was shown not to have a greater deterrent effect when it came to smoking in adolescents.
Adolescents who have at least one of the parents or siblings who smoke have been shown to be more likely t smoke when compared to those that do not have. In addition, the research shows that blanket legislation that declares places frequented by adolescents such as schools to be no tobacco zones plays a critical role in reducing the rate of smoking among teens. Since most adolescents encounter smoking at school such laws are effective in controlling smoking in adolescents.
Critique of data collection
The authors of the research carried out data collection from previous survey dubbed the Quebec Child and Adolescent Health and Social Survey. From this data, they set out to obtain the independent and dependent variables. Data collected was between January and May of 1999.
The data was collected by distributing questionnaires through the randomly selected school-going children in three different provinces in Canada. The questionnaires had questions that were aimed at identifying the factors that contribute to smoking among adolescents. In addition, school principals of the respective institutions and parents of the adolescents participating in the study were issued with questionnaires with well-structuredqueries aimed at identifying determinants of smoking among teens.
The method of data collection has limitations since it is subject to bias since adolescents who smoke may give false information in the fear of reprisals from their guardians or parents. In addition, self reported statements may be false since those adolescents who do not smoke daily may not accurately remember the number of days they smoked in a particular month and this decreases the validity of the result. Use of questionnaires is subject to correct understanding of the standardized questions by the correspondents.
Misinterpretation of the questions may result in false information, which eventually affects the credibility of the study.Consequently, fearing repercussions, the students may not be too willing to divulge information they deem might land them into trouble or they think is of no value to them whatsoever. To achieve better results the adolescents should be taken through a session that explains the importance of giving correct information and the benefit of such information to the adolescent.
Critique of methodology
After collection of the data, the authors identified the dependent and independent variables. This was achieved by identifying what they called “Student-Level Variables” and “School-Level Variables”. Student level variables entailed grouping students into those who smoked daily and those who did not for the past 30 days. Furthermore, they grouped the students with regard to the smoking statuses of their siblings and parents.
School level variables entailed grouping schools as per their policies on smoking. This involved classifying schools according to polices governing indoor and outdoor, teacher and student smoking habits. Furthermore, classification of schools involved location of the school in terms of either being an urban or a rural school. The average income of families within the schools under study was also factored.
The authors of the study do not offer a clear link between income and rate of smoking among adolescents. Furthermore, the relationship between the location of the schools under study and smoking was not clearly defined. Some P values were greater than 0.05 and as such those results were not statistically significant and should not have been used in the study.
However, the authors employed varied statistical manipulations to relate causal factors that influence the smoking culture in adolescents. They employed multilevelModelling to link policies in different schools to their smoking habits. Multilevel analysis was carried out to include all affected parties in the study and compound a common factor that promoted smoking among adolescents.
Critique of result
The authors clearly represent their results through well-labelledtables with both independent and dependent variables identified. The results show that more schools permit the habit of outdoor smoking, a factor that is implicating in promoting smoking among adolescents.
Through the null model, the authors obtained results that were statistically significant especially in linking confounding factors such as the relationship between teacher and student smoking ratesin various schools. Age and sex specific models formulated and related to the various policies in different schools. Other school-level correlates were included in the models to generate multilevel correlates that would accurately identify the determinants of smoking in adolescents in relation to specific schools policies.
Reasons Justifying Further Research
Smoking has become a major killer in the recent past. Adolescent smoking has been on a steady increase in the recent past. To reduce smoking in adolescents proper policies need to be put in place to prevent the access, use and distribution of tobacco and tobacco related products to adolescents.
This study aims at reviewing all legislation directed at reducing rates of adolescent smoking in all places that adolescents are likely to encounter tobacco products. The study will not be confined to schools alone but it will include any social and public places that adolescents visit and smoke. Furthermore, most studies are single-centre studies; this study will be multicentre to map out the determinants of adolescent smoking and respective legislation loopholes that result in such trends (Pokorny, Jason& Schoeny, 2004).
Data collection for this will entail use of two modes to ensure all determinants are identified. These modes are the face-to-face data collection and the self-administered questionnaire (SAQ). Participants will be sourced from representative social avenues such as basketball courts, schools and churches. Further sourcing will be carried out for adolescents who are home-schooled.
The participants will be engaged in face-to-face sessions with the researchers and thereafter questionnaires with well-structured queries will be given out to all the participants who meet the inclusion criteria. Independent and dependent variables will be identified and fed into models that will encompass factors such as age, sex, background, and race of the participants. Cost effective measures will be put in place during data collection to ensure only relevant data is collected.
Collected data will be organized basing on the factors that affect the variables under study. The data will be arranged in tables with the rows containing variables while the variables will be placed in columns. The independent variables will come first. In cases where spreadsheets will be utilized, freeze panes will be used in data organization.
Relational computerized database will be created to mapout determinant versus policy relationship. This will allow flexibility in access of the data during analysis. Furthermore, access of data will be fast and allows for data validation before entry to maintain the validity of the study. In addition, primary and foreign keys will be employed in data organization. Percentiles, ratios and other correlative modes will be employed in display of collected data.
Data summary will entail use of collected data and proper arrangement for effective communication of the message. Measures of central tendencies, statistical dispersions, shapes, and statistical tendency will be used in summarizing the data. Furthermore, analysis of variance will be used in special cases in summarizing data.
Data analysis is crucial in arrivingat conclusions. Analysis of data will be based on the type of data: Whether the data is discrete or continuous. The initial analysis will entail use of defined analytical techniques such asGraphical techniques for scatter plots, Univariate analysis, and bivariate associations for correlations of collected data.
Variables will be analysed based on their types. Nominal variables will be taken through process of associations and exact counts while continuous variables will undergo Stem-and-leaf displays (Gray, Williamson& Karp, 2007).
Furthermore, the data will be subjected to statistical analyses. Statistical analysis entails methods designed to analyse data into relevant useful results. General linear method utilizes several statistical methods such as ANOVA in relating predictors of occurrence to the continuous variables. Methods such as the Item response theory will be used in differentiating latent variables from a series of binary ones. Statistical software will be used in analysing data. This includes the SPSS and SAS software.
Review of results
The obtained results will be published in reputable journals to be reviewedby peers and appropriate recommendations carried out. Furthermore, before publication the results will undergo validation to ensure the study followed laid down procedures in carrying out the research. The results will be presented in relevant forums to stakeholders.
Identification of determinants of smoking among adolescents is crucial in formulating legislation aimed at curbing the access of tobacco. Review of the effectiveness of existing legislation will allow for initiation of changes and formulation new laws aimed at safeguarding adolescents from accessing and using tobacco. Legislation and policies should not only be instituted to cater for smoking in public places but also in homes.
This will ensure decreased exposure of adolescents to smoking resulting in low smoking rates among adolescents. Overall, this will result in decreased costs involved in treatment of tobacco related illnesses and as such lifting the burden from the taxpayer.Anti-Smoking legislation will go along way in ensuring that everybody in the society especially teenagers are safeguarded from the deleterious effects of smoking and they have a chance to enjoy a smoke-free environment for better lives.
Aveyard, P., Markham, W., & Lancashire, E. (2004). The influence of school culture on smoking among pupils. Journal of Social Science and Medicine, 58(9), 1767-1780.
Barnett, T., Gauvin, L., Lambert, M., O’Loughlin, J., Paradis, G., &McGrath, J. (2007).
The influence of school smoking policies on student tobacco use. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescents, 161(9), 1-10.
Gray, S., Williamson, J., &Karp, D. (2007). The Research imagination: An introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pokorny, B., Jason, A., & Schoeny, E. (2004). Current smoking among young adolescents: Assessing school based contextual norms. Journal of Tobacco Control, 13(3), 301-307.