Demographic variables are associated with knowledge, attitudes, and preventive behaviors related to environmental tobacco smoke

Amanda K. Steil, Lorisa Lorenzo, Sumner J Sydeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Few biopsychosocial studies have addressed knowledge of specific ETS health effects, attitudes toward ETS, and personal preventive efforts related to ETS. Method: We surveyed a diverse U.S. community sample of convenience (N = 328) in Flagstaff, Arizona, to examine the following: (a) Does ETS knowledge measured using two response formats, open-ended (OPEF) versus closed-ended (CLEF), result in differences in apparent knowledge? and (b) what are demographic predictors of ETS knowledge, attitudes, and preventive behaviors? Results: Participants scored significantly higher on the ETS knowledge CLEF than OPEF. In regression analyses, predictors of ETS knowledge on the OPEF scale included ethnicity, age, and smoking status; the model predicting knowledge using the CLEF scale was not significant. Knowledge and smoking status, as measured on both the CLEF and the OPEF, were significant predictors of negative attitudes. Additional predictors of attitudes included income for the model using the OPEF and gender for the model using the CLEF. Predictors of preventive behaviors included attitudes and age (OPEF and CLEF models). Discussion: Differences in apparent ETS knowledge of specific ETS health effects by varying response format suggest that open-ended surveys may be useful in identifying specific content areas to address in public health education efforts. Various demographic variables predicted ETS knowledge, attitudes, and preventive behaviors, highlighting specific populations to target in public health interventions relating to ETS, such as non-White and younger populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-678
Number of pages5
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 28 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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