Preventing the uptake of smoking in young people

NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
Record ID 31999009759
Authors' objectives:

This report summarises the research evidence on approaches to preventing the uptake of smoking in young people.

Authors' recommendations: The number of children and young people starting to smoke is increasing. As 82% of smokers take up the habit during teenage years the increasing rates of young smokers will eventually feed through into adult smoking rates. The uptake of smoking is a complex process and is rarely a single distinct event. A factor strongly associated with decisions to start smoking is the influence of family members and peers. There is no simple way to prevent children and young people from taking up smoking. School-based programmes have achieved limited success, although social reinforcement/social norms type programmes seem to be more effective than traditional knowledge-based interventions. Mass media campaigns can influence smoking behaviour. Both the intensity and duration over which the messages are delivered appear to be important factors. Enforcement of the law relating to cigarette sales underage youth can have an effect on retailer behaviour, but the impact on smoking behaviour is likely to be small. Community approaches involving different intervention components can influence smoking behaviour, particularly when multiple sites within a community are targeted. Most programmes have targeted 11 17 year olds. However, attitudes towards smoking and experimentation with cigarettes may already be established by this time. Programme implementation before regular patterns of smoking behaviour are formed should be considered. This may involve targeting children as young as 4 8 years of age.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1999
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Adolescent
  • Advertising
  • Child
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Smoking
Organisation Name: University of York
Contact Address: University of York, York, Y01 5DD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1904 321040, Fax: +44 1904 321041,
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.