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Youth Smoking Status: Perceptions Versus Measurements

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Objective : To determine whether youths who have smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days perceive themselves as smokers.

Methods : Sensitivity and specificity for 3 classifications were analyzed and compared to youths' perceptions of smoking status.

Results : The common criterion of having smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days reflected youths' perceptions of their smoking status with modest accuracy although adding a second criterion of having also smoked 100 or more cigarettes in a lifetime more accurately reflects youths' perceptions of their smoking status.

Conclusions : Youths frequently determine smoking status based on behavioral criteria that differ from the standard criterion of 30-day point prevalence.
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Keywords: perception; smoking; status; tobacco; youth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1 Research Assistant, DePaul University, Center for Community Research, Chicago, IL.

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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