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J Adolesc Health. 2013 Dec;53(6):772-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.06.022. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Longitudinal study of adolescents' attempts to promote and deter friends' smoking behavior.

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Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Electronic address:



Little research has examined the extent to which adolescents directly attempt to influence friends' smoking. This study examines adolescents' reported actions to promote or deter friends' smoking, and whether actions vary by adolescents' smoking experience.


Data were collected between 2001 and 2004 at four time points across the 9th and 10th grades from an ethnically diverse school-based sample (N = 395; 53% female).


Deterrence of smoking was reported by a greater percentage of adolescents than was promotion of smoking, both among those who had ever smoked and never smoked. By the end of the study, over 45% of ever smokers and less than 5% of never smokers had promoted smoking among friends. In contrast, over 70% of ever smokers and roughly 40% of never smokers had deterred smoking. Among adolescents who had ever smoked, positive consequences of smoking by fall of 10th grade predicted attempts to promote smoking by the end of 10th grade (OR = 4.37, p < .05). To a lesser extent, negative consequences of smoking predicted attempts to deter smoking (OR = 2.60, p < .08). These effects were independent of the opposite type of smoking consequences, level of personal smoking experience, having close friends who smoked, prior attempts to influence friends' behavior, and smoker's gender.


Models of peer influence should account for both positive and negative influence of adolescents on friends' health behavior. Adolescents who have engaged in risk-taking and experienced negative consequences may be a resource in designing and delivering interventions; future research should evaluate their ability to change friends' behavior.


Adolescence; Cigarettes; Peer influence; Peer pressure; Smoking

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