Do stronger school smoking policies make a difference? Analysis of the health behaviour in school-aged children survey
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Background: Associations of the strength of school smoking policies with cigarette, e-cigarette and cannabis use in Wales were examined. Methods: Nationally representative cross-sectional survey of pupils aged 11–16 years (N=7376) in Wales. Senior management team members from 67 schools completed questionnaires about school smoking policies, substance use education and tobacco cessation initiatives. Multi-level, logistic regression analyses investigated self-reported cigarette, e-cigarette and cannabis use, for all students and those aged 15–16 years. Results: Prevalence of current smoking, e-cigarette use and cannabis use in the past month were 5.3%, 11.5% and 2.9%, respectively. Of schools that provided details about smoking policies (66/67), 39.4% were strong (written policy applied to everyone in all locations), 43.9% were moderate (written policy not applied to everyone in all locations) and 16.7% had no written policy. There was no evidence of an association of school smoking policies with pupils’ tobacco or e-cigarette use. However, students from schools with a moderate policy [OR = 0.47; 95% (confidence interval) CI: 0.26–0.84] were less likely to have used cannabis in the past month compared to schools with no written policy. This trend was stronger for students aged 15–16 years (moderate policy: OR = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.22–0.80; strong policy: OR = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.23–0.87). Conclusions: School smoking policies may exert less influence on young people’s smoking behaviours than they did during times of higher adolescent smoking prevalence. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine the potential influence of school smoking policies on cannabis use and mechanisms explaining this association.
European Journal of Public Health;
Hallingberg, B., Fletcher, A., Murphy, S., Morgan, K., Littlecott, H.J., Roberts, C. and Moore, G.F. (2016) 'Do stronger school smoking policies make a difference? Analysis of the health behaviour in school-aged children survey', The European Journal of Public Health, 26(6), pp.964-968.
Article published in European Journal of Public Health available open access at https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckw093
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