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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1996 Aug;17(4):248-52.

Initiation of cigarette smoking among children with and without learning disabilities.

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  • 1Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599-7400, USA.


The goals of this study were to determine if: (1) children with learning disabilities should be included in school-based smoking prevention programs and (2) existing prevention curricula are appropriate for children with learning disabilities. Initiation of cigarette smoking and several correlates of smoking, including personal attribute, peer influence, and parent influence variables, were measured in a sample of 1470 3rd and 5th grade children. The rates of smoking initiation were 17% and 15% for children with and without learning disabilities, respectively. In addition, several of the known correlates of smoking among youth, including low self-control, negative orientation toward school, and peer smoking, were also significantly associated with smoking by children with learning disabilities. Children with learning disabilities are as much in need of smoking prevention programs as children without learning disabilities. Although current smoking prevention curricula address issues relevant to children with learning disabilities, additional research is needed to identify the special needs of these children and to determine the type of smoking prevention program most likely to be effective with them.

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