Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Scaring the Smoke Out of Them!

The idea of scaring adolescents to the point of not initiating smoking or encouraging them to stop is interesting and has been effective (Metzger et al., 2012). In effect, this scaring tactic educates them to the real risks of smoking. Most adolescents have little grasp of the real dangers of tobacco use (Fritz, Wider, Hardin, & Horrocks, 2008).  This has been effective in high school programs.

I believe it is equally important to discover the antecedents of smoking. For example, Harakeh et al., (2012) found neurocognitive functioning has a role in initiating smoking in some adolescents. Although there may exist a variety of reasons for the initiation of tobacco use in this young population, the more information psychologists have available helps to adequately inform effective program design. The goal would be to affect as many of the foundational behavioral or cognitive states as possible, in effect, curtailing the behavior before it begins, or at least relieving the foundational issues to inspire smoking cessation.

Harakeh, Z., de Sonneville, L., van den Eijnden, R. M., Huizink, A. C., Reijneveld, S. A., Ormel, J., & ... Vollebergh, W. M. (2012). The association between neurocognitive functioning and smoking in adolescence: The TRAILS study. Neuropsychology, 26(5), 541-550. doi:10.1037/a0029217

Metzger, A., Wakschlag, L.S., Anderson, R., Darfler, A., Price, J., Flores, Z., & Mermelstein, R. (2012). Information management strategies, within conversations about cigarette smoking: Parenting, correlate and longitudinal associations with teen smoking. American Psychological Association. 1-14. Doi: 10.1037/a0030720

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