The role of social influences and tobacco availability on adolescent smokeless tobacco use

Raymond G. Boyle, Ami J. Claxton, Jean Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the potential explanatory effect of various demographic, social influence, sanction, and tobacco availability variables on the use of smokeless tobacco (ST) by adolescent males. Design: The data used in our analyses are from a community-based tobacco policy intervention trial that included a 60-item baseline school survey. During Spring 1993, all 8th, 9th, and 10th-grade students enrolled in 14 school districts in small Minnesota cities were surveyed. We used mixed-model logistic regression to determine which variables were significantly correlated with smokeless tobacco use by males in the past week. Results: Of this sample of 2924 adolescent males, 10% (n = 291) reported using smokeless tobacco in the past week. Compared to the overall sample, smokeless tobacco users reported higher family and friend use of smokeless tobacco. In addition, 64% of users reported smoking in the past 30 days, and almost half (49.1%) said they had attempted to purchase tobacco in the past 30 days. Variables found to be significantly associated with smokeless tobacco use in the past week included younger age, having a best friend using tobacco, inflated perceptions of their peers' use of tobacco products, beliefs that school and parental sanctions are not high for tobacco use, recent tobacco purchase, and perceived belief that tobacco is not difficult to obtain from social sources. Conclusions: This study confirms previous research correlating demographic and social influence factors with ST use and demonstrates the role that sanction and availability variables play in ST use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • Adolescent males
  • Risk factors
  • Smokeless tobacco


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