Smoking Prevalence In U.S. Birth Cohorts: Influence of Gender and Education

To assess long-term trends in cigarette smoking according to the combined influence of sex and education, this study examined smoking prevalence in sucessive U.S. birth cohorts. Data from nationally representative surveys were examined to assess smoking prevalence for six successive 10-year birth cohorts stratified by race, ethinicity, sex, and educational attainment. Substantial declines in smoking prevalence were found among men who had a high school education or more, regardless of race or ethinicity, and slight declines women of the same educational background were revealed. However, little change was found in smoking prevalence among men of all race/ethnic groups with less than high school education, and large increases were found among women with the same years of schooling, espcially if they were white or African American. These data suggest that persons of low educational attainment have yet to benefit from ther policies and education about the health consequences of cigarette smoking.

Source: Escobedo, L.G.; Peddicord, J.P.
American Journal of Public Health 86(2):231-236, 1996

In the office dictionary the word next to ‘educate’ is ‘edulcorate’ – meaning to sweeten up; to make more palatable . In the search for acceptance for drugs messages, especially by youth, we sometimes run the risk of adding too much sweetener whilst leaving out what may be found bitter to the taste. Nowhere is this more true than with cannabis. The media have had a love affair with ‘pot’ for years now, and even much of the nationally-available drugs literature is sanguine about this ‘pernicious weed’. Not content with taking the lowest common denominator of harm, there is a tendency to open the dialogue by listing the perceived ‘benefits’ of a drug’s misuse. Of course the risk of ‘edulcoration’ can apply to any field of endeavour in regard to drugs. Over-zealous treatment workers are as much at risk of propagandising their position as are harm reduction workers or even – perish the thought – prevention workers. The perennial battle for a slice of the (tiny) funding cake adds to this tendency. The truth, as ever lies (to quote the Blessed Paddy Ashdown) “somewhere in-between”. If ever we were to see a united drugs profession – without the aid of a powerful telescope – it would probably include an acceptance by all concerned that they have been guilty of hyperbole, and the respective roles of each sector could be more constructively interlinked to reach a common good of minimum drug misuse plus sensitive and effective interventions for these who do misuse, to whatever extent. For the present, sadly it has to be recognised that common goals are still some way off.

Filed under: Nicotine,USA,Youth :

Back to top of page

Powered by WordPress