Smoking among adolescent girls: prevalence and etiology.

S. A. French, C. L. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The prevalence of regular cigarette smoking among 12th-grade girls is about 28%, with the highest rates among whites and the lowest in African-Americans and Asians. Adolescent girls who do not go on to college are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those with college plans. Girls initiate smoking for diverse reasons; it may be instrumental in attaining a desired self-image that includes feelings of maturity, independence, sexuality, health, and sociability. In addition, tobacco advertisements have exploited white, middle-class women's concerns with staying slim by emphasizing the weight-controlling benefits of smoking. Parents, peers, and friends are influential in creating norms that support or discourage smoking. Reasons for ethnic differences in smoking prevalence among adolescent females are poorly understood, but may be linked to economic and sociocultural factors. Future prevention and treatment programs targeting young women should address their reasons for smoking and identify healthful alternative behaviors that will serve psychosocial functions previously met by cigarette smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-28
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1996

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