Better school environments can help reduce smoking

June 23, 2008

Students in a positive social environment at school may be less likely to start smoking, as reported June 20 in the online journal BMC Public Health.

Students in a positive social environment at school may be less likely to start smoking, as reported June 20 in the online journal BMC Public Health.

The results come from a survey of 5,092 students from 24 schools in Scotland. Social environments that were positive and inclusive were linked to a decreased likelihood of smoking among students. Factors such as student attitude toward school, the quality of teacher-students relationships, and school-level affluence seemed to play a part in whether students decide to smoke.

The researchers also found that, on average, 25% of male students and 39% of female students ages 15 to 16 reported that they either smoked regularly or occasionally.

The investigators stated that their results suggested investing in the school's social environment to make it a positive experience may help lead to a reduction in smoking rates among students.