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Young Girls' Smoking Habits Influenced By School

Banning smoking by staff on or near school premises important part of smoking prevention programs

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking bans that cover all school personnel on or near school premises should be a component of smoking prevention measures targeted at adolescents, and particularly girls, whose attitudes toward smoking may be more susceptible to school influences, according to the results of a Canadian study published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Tracie A. Barnett, Ph.D., of the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data on 763 students aged 13 years from 50 schools and 768 students aged 16 years from 57 schools, all in Quebec, to measure tobacco use and evaluate the effects of each school's smoking policy.

Daily smoking was reported among 3.8 percent of boys and 7.1 percent of girls in the 13-year-old group, and among 21 percent of the boys and 25.2 percent of the girls in the 16-year-old group. Staff were permitted to smoke indoors in 28 percent of schools, and 84.1 percent permitted staff smoking outdoors on school grounds. Students were permitted to smoke outdoors on school grounds in 83.2 percent of schools.

"Girls aged 13 years were almost five times more likely to be daily smokers if they attended schools at which staff were permitted to smoke outdoors," the authors write. "Younger girls may be more susceptible to social influences at school related to tobacco use," they conclude.

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