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Can J Public Health. 2019 Apr;110(2):236-243. doi: 10.17269/s41997-019-00178-4. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Assessing the strength of secondary school tobacco policies of schools in the COMPASS study and the association to student smoking behaviours.

Author information

1
Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr, MC 0905, San Diego, CA, 92093-0905, USA. acole@ucsd.edu.
2
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. acole@ucsd.edu.
3
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The school environment is an ideal setting to introduce policies to prevent smoking behaviour. However, there may be variability in the strength of school board and secondary school tobacco policies, which may affect student smoking behaviours. This study assessed the strength of a sample of school board and secondary school tobacco policies and examined the association with student smoking behaviours.

METHODS:

Tobacco policies from school boards (n = 21/26) and secondary schools (n = 43/81) that participated in the COMPASS study during 2015-2016 were obtained online. A standardized instrument was used to assess the strength of school board and secondary school tobacco policies on four domains. Using the sample of students from schools with identified policies (n = 22,696), separate multilevel regression models examined the association between school policy scores and a student's susceptibility to smoking, ever smoking, current smoking, and perceived support of the school environment.

RESULTS:

The mean school board tobacco policy score was 13.7/40 and the mean secondary school tobacco policy score was 11.3/40. Students were significantly less likely to report current smoking (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.91-0.99) and more likely to report a supportive school environment (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.04-1.08) with each four-unit (i.e., 10%) increase in school tobacco policy score.

CONCLUSIONS:

The vast majority of school board and secondary school tobacco policies were missing components and therefore could not be considered comprehensive. Stronger school tobacco policies may help to reduce student current smoking behaviours.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescent; Cigarette smoking; School health promotion; School tobacco policy

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