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Media and smoking among adolescent girls across ethnicity

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Dongyun Yang, M.D.
Award Cycle: 1999 (Cycle 8) Grant #: 8DT-0175 Award: $53,987
Subject Area: Public Health, Public Policy, and Economics
Award Type: Dissertation Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Smoking prevalence among adolescents has been increasing since the early 1990s in the United States and California. In California, more teenage girls reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days in 1996 than in 1990. More African-American, Hispanic and Asian female teenagers reported interest in trying a cigarette than their White counterparts. Tobacco advertising and promotion items appear to attract adolescents, especially girls who smoke to look "cool", to be mature, or to keep their weight down. Most current tobacco prevention programs are universal and do not consider the diverse cultural backgrounds of the targeted population. However, tobacco industry has employed ethnically specific marketing campaigns to attract young and/or female customers. More efforts are needed to improve the effectiveness of the current tobacco prevention programs by adding gender specific and culturally appropriate curricula.

This project intends to study cigarette smoking behavior and media exposure among African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and White female teenagers. The proposed study also plans to investigate which ethnic groups are more vulnerable to tobacco advertising and promotion influences, and to determine whether the impact of tobacco marketing on female adolescent smoking differs across ethnicity among female teenagers. This study could provide better understanding of the relationship between media exposure and cigarette smoking among teenage girls.

This study will use data already collected by the University of California, San Diego, and the California Department of Health Service. The two data sources were the California Tobacco Surveys (CTS): 1990-1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996, and the California Youth Tobacco Survey (CYTS): 1994-1997. The sample will be comprised of female adolescents with the following selfidentified ethnicities: African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and White (total N = 13,250). Both conventional and advanced statistical approaches will be employed to study ethnic differences in media exposure and cigarette smoking.

The findings in this study will enable the health professionals to design more successful tobacco use prevention programs to reduce media influences on female adolescents.