245699 Tobacco use among Serbian youth and prevention strategies

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sladjana Dankovic , 2231 California St NW Apt 409, Campaign Digital, Inc., Washington, DC
Caroline H. Sparks, Director of Health Promotion , School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Background information about the prevalence of smoking in youth in Serbia has drawn public attention to the issue of the social environment that influences early initiation of smoking. The purpose of this study was to differentiate the factors in the social environment that facilitate early adoption of tobacco use among youth in Serbia and to learn more about the type of support adolescents need to reject tobacco use. The methods included an extensive review of existing tobacco studies in Serbia, fifteen focus groups with youth in which participants discussed peer influences, environmental influences and the types of preventive interventions that would be most likely to succeed. Interviews with adults who work with young people either directly as parents and teachers or indirectly as individuals from governmental, nongovernmental organizations and the media provided information about past intervention efforts. Results showed that once adolescents begin to smoke, they perceive smoking as acceptable behavior with few to no consequences. Youth indicated that they are generally not included in planning or asked about what might work with their age group but are eager to be involved in efforts to lower smoking rates. Interviews indicated that interventions have been sporadic, poorly funded, and have very little evaluation of success or failure. Weak and poorly implemented tobacco control laws are enabling factors. The study provides information useful to our future efforts to work with youth and adults in Serbia on an intervention in which youth are primary participants in design and implementation.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify the behavioral, social and environmental risk factors for high tobacco use among Serbian youth 2. Participants will discuss the cultural factors that must be taken into account in designing smoking prevention campaigns targeting youth in Serbia

Keywords: Prevention, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conducted a needs assessment on the tobacco smoking in youth in Serbia.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.