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social influence on smoking

The tobacco industry is important to the economy. In 1991, worldwide tobacco sales exceeded $59.8 billion and in 1992 the industry was rated as one of the top one hundred advertisers (Pechmann and Ratneshwar, 1994). However, there are high prices to pay - socially, economically, and personally - as a result of this industry. Annual mortality figures indicate that cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. An estimated 390,000 people die each year of smoke related illnesses, which is greater than the combined mortality for cocaine, crack, AIDS, homicide, suicide, and alcohol abuse (Botvin, G., Baker, Botvin, E., Dusenbury, Cardwell, and Diaz, 1993).
This paper will review research which suggests that social influences on smoking occur as a result of several external factors that adolescents face on a daily basis - parental factors, peer pressure, and advertising. Many current and past smokers began experimentation and use during their adolescent years. Social influence is a central component of all models of adolescent substance abuse. It is assumed to be a direct predictor of experimentation and initiation with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. One of the major theories that is used to describe this phenomenon is the social control theory. This theory describes bonding factors, such as involvement, family attachment, job or education commitment, and belief in conventional social norms and values. Involvement refers to the idea that individuals who are deeply involved in non deviant activities lack the time to get involved in deviant acts. Attachment to others who value positive norms tends to decrease the likelihood of deviation from the norms as a direct result of the opinions expressed by others. Those with positive work and educational ethics are less likely to deviate as well as long as their commitment is related to conformity of social norms. Belief refers to the no...

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References Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Botvin, E., Dusenbury, L., Cardwell, J., & Diaz, T. (1993). Factors promoting cigarette smoking among Black youth: A casual modeling approach. Addictive Behaviors, 18, 397-405. DeFronzo, J., & Pawlak, R. (1993). Effects of social bonds and childhood experiences on alcohol abuse and smoking. Journal of Social Psychology, 133, 635-642. DeFronzo, J., & Pawlak, R. (1993). Being female and less deviant: The direct and indirect effects of gender on alcohol abuse and tobacco smoking. Journal of Psychology, 127, 639-648. DiFranza, J. R., Richards, J. W., Paulman, P. M., Wolf-Gillespie, N., Fletcher, C., Jaffe, R. D., & Murray, D. (1991). RJR Nabisco’s cartoon camel promotes Camel cigarettes to children. Journal of the American Medical Association, 266, 3149-3154. Epstein, J. A., Botvin, G., & Diaz, T. (1999). Social influence and psychological determinants of smoking among inner-city adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 8, 1-15. Harton, H., & Latané, B. (1997). Social influence and adolescent lifestyle attitudes. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 7, 197-220. Males, M. (1995). The influence of parental smoking on youth smoking: Is the recent downplaying justified? Journal of School Health, 65, 228-232. McBride, C. M., Curry, S. J., Cheadle, A., Anderman, C., Wagner, E. H., Diehr, W., & Psaty, B. (1995). School-level application of a social bonding model to adolescent risk-taking behavior. Journal of School Health, 65, 63-69. Morgan, M. & Grube, J. (1989). Adolescent cigarette smoking: A developmental analysis of influences. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 7, 179-189. Newman, I., & Ward. J. (1989). The influence of parental attitude and behavior on early adolescent cigarette smoking. Journal of School Health, 59, 150-153. Pechmann, C. & Ratneshwar, S. (1994). The effects of anti smoking and cigarette advertising on young adolescents’ perceptions of peers who smoke. Journal of Consumer Research, 21, 236-251. Sussman, S., Hahn, G., Dent, C. W., Stacy, A. W., Burton, D. & Flay, B. R. (1993). Naturalistic observation of adolescent tobacco use. International Journal of Addictions, 28, 803-811.

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