Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Parents who quit smoking and their adult children’s smoking cessation: a 20-year follow-up study

Research (via the SHEU) which looks at parent’s influence on children’s smoking behaviour found that:

parents’ early smoking cessation has a long-term influence on their adult children’s smoking cessation. Parents who smoke should be encouraged to quit when their children are young.

Filed under: research, tobacco, USA

Are both parents always better than one?

A piece of American research into the associations between adolescent family experiences and young adult well-being has been picked up by the Guardian and Telegraph, both of whom report the finding that where there is “high conflict” between parents the young people in the family are more likely to use drugs and become sexually active at a young age.

The paper these stories are drawn from can be downloaded here and whose abstract says:

Findings suggest that exposure to parental conflict in adolescence is associated with poorer academic achievement, increased substance use, and early family formation and dissolution, often in ways indistinguishable from living in a stepfather or singlemother family. Income and parenting largely do not account for these associations. While children tend to do better living with two biological married parents, the advantages of twoparent families are not shared equally by all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: parents, research, USA

Confirmed Recall and Perceived Effectiveness of Tobacco Countermarketing Media in Rural Youth

More American research into the perceived effectiveness of public health messages about tobacco, this time with a rural population.

The adds seem to have been “vivid“; for example on focused on “fatty deposits being squeezed from a deceased smoker’s aorta”, while another has “a former smoker speaking through his electro-larynx”.

The researchers suggest that:

These findings indicate certain TV and radio ads depicting graphic health harms from tobacco—especially the TV ad Artery and the radio ad ABC—are highly recalled and perceived as effective by both American Indian and white girls and boys from a rural region. Future research is needed to better understand which individual- and media-level factors increase the likelihood that anti-tobacco ads will be effective in reducing youth tobacco use.

I tried finding the Artery advert on YouTube and while the one below is from Australia it seems to be in the same vein:

And one from the UK with a similar visual message:

Filed under: research, tobacco

Helping teenagers stop smoking: Comparative observations across youth settings in Cardiff

The Health Education Journal has a paper about how schools/colleges, youth centres, and specialist youth provision delivered a six-week smoking cessation and awareness programme to young people in Cardiff.

The researchers spoke to those taking part in the programme at week one and week six of the course and measured

changes in weekly smoking behaviour, weekly expenditure on cigarettes, knowledge about smoking and smoking cessation, attitudes toward smoking, motivation to quit/ cut down, and attrition.

They found that:

Schools/colleges and specialist youth provision had the highest levels of attendance, and positive change in attitude toward quitting was greatest in specialist youth settings (79 per cent of attendees were more determined to quit).

They go on to conclude:

specialist youth provisions were the most effective settings for delivery of this programme. Delivery of smoking awareness as part of a wider health curriculum for groups of excluded young people is also recommended.

Filed under: research, tobacco, Wales

Defining Binge Drinking for Children and Adolescents

The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, when he wrote his recent guidance on alcohol for children, young people and their parents talked alot about binge drinking, but didn’t define binge drinking differently for children or young people.

Via the SHEU I see that American academics have now argued that we should be (you can read their full paper here).  In the coverage from Medical News Today the researcher says:

Both children and young adolescents weigh substantially less than adults and likely would achieve considerably higher BACs (blood alcohol concentrations) with five drinks within a two-hour period or would reach a BAC greater than 0.08 g/dL with significantly fewer drinks.

This adds up to a recommendation that a binge should be defined in the following ways:

  • three or more drinks for 9- to 13-year-old children;
  • four or more drinks for boys and three or more drinks for girls ages 14 or 15; and
  • five or more drinks for boys and three or more drinks for girls ages 16 or 17.

They also suggest that what constitutes heavy drinking should be revised downward.

The paper points out:

Intake of fewer drinks than these at each age should not be considered safe, however.

The paper goes on to say:

Given the opportunistic nature of children’s drinking, these results likely underestimate actual BACs at each intake level, because children, like college students, are likely to pour larger than standard drinks. These figures likely overestimate BACs at each intake level for children in countries that use smaller standard drink sizes (eg, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand).

The paper concludes that there are a number of limitations to the research – the main one being that, for obvious ethical reasons, it is based on theory rather than by testing on children.  They warn:

Therefore, these estimates should be considered theoretical and should not be used in pediatric forensic applications. They are at best heuristic approximations developed to advocate against the use of adult operational definitions of hazardous alcohol use in the younger population.

Filed under: alcohol, research, SHEU

Changing attitudes, knowledge and behaviour: A review of successful initiatives

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have published a report looking at what successful public health campaigns dealing with other issues might have to teach those involved in changing attitudes, knowledge and behaviour around alcohol.

They suggest there are a number of common themes in the successful initiatives the authors have examined:

  • Long term commitment
  • (Re)Framing the problem and changing social norms
  • Understanding the target(s)
  • Planning
  • Positive offerings
  • Multiple approaches
  • Competition
  • Research

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: alcohol, Health, research, tobacco

Early tobacco smoking in adolescents with externalizing disorders: Inferences for reward function

Research from America into risk factors around smoking:

Factors that confer risk for chronic smoking include psychiatric factors, such as externalizing disorders, and potentially related neurobiological substrates, such as reward function. The present study examined the relationship between the externalizing disorders and the temporal progression of smoking among adolescent smokers.

The research found:

Adolescents with an externalizing disorder consumed more tobacco in the first 2 years of smoking than those without a disorder. There were no differences in speed of progression between groups, which may index a distinct functional pattern of reward systems that confers vulnerability for tobacco dependence.

Filed under: research, tobacco, USA

Does Alcohol Outlet Density Affect Youth Access to Alcohol?

Perhaps unsurprisingly the answer appears to be yes.

Which led me to ask what we know about the number of licences here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: alcohol, research

Extreme College Drinking and Alcohol-Related Injury Risk

Research from the journal Alcoholism into drinking amongst college students and its relationship to injury:

Despite the enormous burden of alcohol-related injuries, the direct connection between college drinking and physical injury has not been well understood. The goal of this study was to assess the connection between alcohol consumption levels and college alcohol-related injury risk.

The researchers conclude:

College health clinics may want to focus limited alcohol injury prevention resources on students who frequently engage in extreme drinking, defined in this study as 8+M/5+F drinks per day, and score high on sensation-seeking disposition.

This seems to fit with what Mike Ashton’s analysis was saying about the different effects that universal and targeted interventions have with specific substances.

Filed under: alcohol, research

Using Print Media to Motivate College Students to Visit a Website about Sensible Alcohol Use

Via the SHEU, this piece of Dutch research takes a look at using print adverts to get college students to access an alcohol awareness website.

The authors argue:

Whether mass media health education campaigns have any direct effects on health behavior is often a topic of debate. In most studies no direct effects are found (Derzon & Lipsey, 2002), even in controlled studies of theory-based campaigns (Hornik, 2002). In this paper, it is stated that mass media health education advertisements should not be used to promote the desired healthy behavior directly. Instead, they should be used to create awareness for particular health issues and to stimulate information seeking, for instance by visiting a website or calling a telephone hotline.

They found that:

including both attention-getting and likeable message cues and a message tailored to the most important determinant increases the advertisement’s effectiveness in motivating people to visit the campaign website.

Filed under: alcohol, International, research

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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