Teen Smoking Behaviors Current Consequences Research Proposal

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¶ … Teen smoking behaviors

Current consequences of the problem.

Importance/Benefits of the Study

Dependent variables:

Extraneous Variable

Scoring answers

Qualification of researchers


This business research proposal is about a campaign to stop smoking at the age at which teens are most likely to start, in middle school. The program will be aimed primarily at white teens, as black teens are much less likely to start smoking at that time.

This business research proposal is for a non-profit organization, but the problems will be attacked in a businesslike way, with market research.

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Individuals begin their habitual behaviors early in their teenage years. Although the cigarette industry in the United States has been barred from using advertisements that appeal directly to teens, there are nevertheless a series of social and societal pressures which may compel teens to try, then to become addicted, to tobacco. About 71% of adult smokers were smoking daily by age 18, and 2/3rds of teens say that they have tried smoking by the 12th grade. From 1988 to 1996, the number of teens who smoke daily rose by 50%, while the percent of teens who had tried smoking rose by 30% (Scal, 2003). This new trend towards greater teen smoking bodes ill for future efforts to curb smoking in the American populace, as it is difficult for smokers to quit once they have become addicted.

It was not always so. Prior to World War Two, there was a reluctance on the part of teens to try smoking. The habit was expensive, and parents generally frowned on cigarette smoking until their children came 'of age.' Furthermore, societal and religious pressures made it difficult for teens to be seen smoking.

Research Proposal on Teen Smoking Behaviors Current Consequences of the Assignment

After that war, more permissive attitudes towards teens, teen ownership of automobiles and a greater autonomy for teens allowed them to experiment more with addictive behaviors, including smoking. Movie stars who were admired by teens, such as James Dean and Marlon Brando, presented smoking as part of the rebellion against adults and tradition. From a furtive addiction, smoking became 'cool' for teens.

The tobacco industry did not actively market to teens, as it had a significant share of smoking adults. As the number of adult smokers began to decline in the 1960's, the tobacco industry found that it needed to recruit younger smokers in order to replace those who they have lost.

Many campaigns aimed at teens to stop smoking or to never start are unsuccessful. Teens are bombarded by movies, peer group pressure, parents and addictive personality. In addition, a recent increase in addictive alcohol behavior influences smoking as well: there is a strong correlation between those teens who drink alcohol at an early age and those who smoke, in part because it is thought that alcohol consumption reduces inhibitions (Bobo, 2000).

Current consequences of the problem.

Cigarette smoking is strongly linked to heart disease and strokes. An estimated 400 thousand people die each year of diseases related to their smoking. Smoking is the single biggest factor in those diseases, ahead of diabetes, obesity and lack of exercise.

List any "restrictions:" aspects of the problem that are beyond your current investigation and won't be included in your statistical analyses.

This study proposes to study a high school in Texas with a mix of African-Americans, Hispanics and whites. Since studies have established that African-American teen smoking behavior is less than whites or Hispanics, the black population in this high school will be a 'control' group, which will be compared to the combination of Hispanics and whites, who have similar smoking rates as shown in polls (Health, MO Dept of, 1998).

This study will not study teens from different parts of the country, nor does this study argue that the students of various ethnicities in this sample represent their ethnic groups across the country.

Research Objectives

The goal of this study is to identify the key behavioral triggers which influence teens to start smoking. A secondary finding will relate to those who continue to smoke, as there is a substantial cohort of students who cease to smoke after trying it for a short while.

Independent variables include family status (single parent or both parents), church affiliation (regular church or no church), school status (in high school or dropout), regular alcohol consumption (more than 1 drink per day) and body mass index (BMI), over 30% (obese) or under 30%.

The dependent variable(s) is explicitly labeled for the reader (showing that the writer is able to distinguish an "independent" from a "dependent" variable).

It is expected that those who are not obese are more likely to be more frequent participants in school sports.

Literature Review

Tobacco use among high school athletes and nonathletes: Results of the 1997 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (Melnick, 2001)

This study provided a survey of smoking behavior, and included smokeless tobacco, which is used by 9.3% of males and 1.5% of females in high school. This study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, sought to analyze the initiation of smoking behaviors as a part of other health-risk behaviors, including injuries, alcohol abuse, early sexual behavior (leading to teen pregnancy in some cases) and physical inactivity. The results indicated that those who engaged in sports were less likely to be smokers. About a fourth of both males and females were regular smokers, while about a third had smoked in the previous 30 days. This study was a continuation of a bi-yearly study going back to 1990.

While the study included a large sample (>16,000 students), it relied on students' self-evaluation. It is not indicated if the questionnaire responses were anonymous, which may have led to underreporting of cigarette smoking behavior. The study recognizes a series of factors which teens claim encourages them to continue their behavior, but does not delve into deeper reasons for starting smoking.

Why Do They Start it? Explaining Reported Early-Teen Sexual Activity (Little, 2001)

Early teen sexual activity may be correlated with early initiation of smoking as a part of an overall behavioral matrix which afflicts young teens in trouble. This study analyzed four samples of eighth graders in an upstate New York county. The findings were that there was a 'problem syndrome,' which suggested having used marijuana and having been drunk; both are strong indicators of early sexually active behavior. The study recognizes that these teens may receive less parental approval, and therefore seek it from peer approval. The study does not probe self-image, but implies that poor self-image at that age may be a contributory factor to such risky behavior. It suggests that boys at that age are likely to engage in risky behavior for status-seeking, while girls are likely to do so in order to gain approval.

A prospective evaluation of the relationships between smoking dosage and body mass index in an adolescent, biracial cohort (Cooper, 2003)

It is clear from a number of teen smoking studies that risky behaviors appear in a group with many teens, and those who are 'troubled' are more likely to start smoking early. This study evaluated over 1600 teens over 4 years in order to track correlation between smoking behavior, gender and BMI. It found no correlation between BMI and smoking behavior over the period studied. While the study researched a large number of blacks and whites, females and males, it did not break down the results in those subgroups. These data about BMI and smoking run counter to a number of other studies on the subject, which suggests that it needs to be researched further.

A longitudinal study of developmental trajectories to young adult cigarette smoking (Juon, 2002)

This study focused solely on African-Americans from the first grade to age 32. While limited to one ethnic group, the results suggest that they may be applicable across a larger test group. The researchers divided the surveyed population into four groups: non-smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers/late adopters and current smokers/early adopters. About half were non-smokers who had never smoked. Of greatest interest is that those who never smoked were less likely to have left home before turning 18, have had more parental supervision, have stayed in the same home for a longer period of time, and attended church more regularly. Those who started smoking early were rated as aggressive by their teachers in the first grade; many were both drug-users and smokers in adult life. This study is useful in pointing to cultural reasons for making the decision to start smoking, and the importance of church and family values. It suggests that there may be some lessons to learn from these values for this study.

A points) Explicitly links each study to the current investigation, explaining the relevance of the prior research and exactly why/how it provides support to the current investigation (i.e. does it suggest a particularly effective methodology? Does it contain measures you intend to use for your IV or DV? Do the findings imply what you'll be likely to find in your statistical analysis of the data?)

Importance/Benefits of the Study

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