Correlates of smoking among young adults: The role of lifestyle, attitudes/beliefs, demographics, and exposure to anti-tobacco media messaging

Noella A. Dietz, David F. Sly, David J. Lee, Kristopher L. Arheart, Laura A. McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Young adults (18-24 years) have the highest smoking rate of any age group. Unlike youth/adult populations where there is one primary message targeting behavior, anti-tobacco campaigns targeting young adults should contain messages of prevention and cessation. The objective was to identify factors influencing young adult cigarette use, employing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logic model, with an emphasis on the role of lifestyle, tobacco use tolerance, and attitudes/beliefs. Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected from 4401 young adults using telephone interviews in 2010 as part of the evaluation for the Tobacco Free Florida Campaign. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between current smoking status and lifestyles, tolerance of tobacco use, and attitude/belief variables. Results: The young adult cigarette prevalence rate is 20.3%, with males more likely to be smokers (25.1%) than females (15.6%) and non-Hispanic Whites more likely to be smokers than other racial/ethnic groups (23.8%). Significant associations were found between lifestyle variables (frequent bar/club, drinks per month, and number of friends who smoke), tolerance of tobacco use (allow smoke in house/car and moderate tobacco use), and four attitude/belief indices and current smoking behavior. Conclusions: Results suggest lifestyles and attitudes/beliefs should be key behavioral targets of prevention programs aimed at young adults. Data strongly suggest that as young adults reject negative labels attached to smokers, they are more likely to smoke. Prevention (and cessation) programs may need to reduce barriers that result in segregating nonsmokers/smokers so smokers can have an increased chance of adopting attitudes/beliefs of nonsmokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Attitudes/beliefs
  • Smoking
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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