Despite tobacco intervention efforts of schools, usage among students remains surprisingly high. One adolescent group that should be protected from using tobacco is athletes. This study compared the patterns of tobacco use of athletes and nonathletes. A 15-item survey designed to identify patterns of tobacco use and participation in organized scholastic and collegiate sports was completed by 1,290 college students enrolled at a public university in the Southeast. Participants were grouped as current college athletes, college students who had been athletes in high school but not college, and college students who had not been athletes. The data were analyzed using chi-square and descriptive statistics. Results indicate significance between groups in use of smokeless tobacco, with both athlete groups indicating higher rates of use (34.7% for college athletes and 23.2% for high school athletes) than nonathletes (13.8%). No significant differences were found between groups for cigarette smoking. Initiation of both cigarette smoking and use of smokeless tobacco was highest during high school, followed by middle school. With all three groups, there was little change in tobacco use from high school to college. The information from this study could be useful in the development and promotion of intervention policies, particularly for athletes, at the high school and college levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health