Teen tobacco use linked to other risky behaviors
High school students who use tobacco are more likely to engage in risky behaviors - such as drug use and unprotected sex - than students who avoid tobacco, according to a new study by a research team that included Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The national study, which appeared in the Journal of School Health, is the first to look at the link between risky behavior and the use of all tobacco products - cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco.
Forty-three percent of students surveyed reported using at least one tobacco product. Of those students, 45 percent reported using more than one of the products.
"The good news from the survey was that most high school students did not use tobacco products, which is a positive sign," said Gary A. Giovino, a co-author who works in the institute's department of cancer prevention, epidemiology and biostatistics. "However, students who used tobacco were significantly more likely than nonusers to report engaging in other risky behaviors."
As such, researchers said, tobacco use should be a warning sign for other potentially troubling behaviors. They called for more effective programs to help stop students from smoking.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the cancer institute, analyzed data from a 1997 survey of 16,262 high school students.