Cigarette Smoking as a Predictor of Alcohol and Other Drug Use by Children and Adolescents: Evidence of the “Gateway Drug Effect”

Authors

  • Mohammad R. Torabi,

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      Mohammad R. Torabi, PhD, MPH, FASHA, Professor; and Massoumeh Majd-Jabbari, PhD, Visiting Research Associate; Dept. of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, HPER Bldg., Room 116, Bloomington, IN 47405

  • William J. Bailey,

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      William J. Bailey, MPH, Executive Director, Indiana Prevention Resource Center, 840 State Road 46 Bypass, Room 110, Bloomington, IN 47405. This study was supported by contracts 92–5335-11 and DAS-3–115 from the Division of Mental Health, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

  • Massoumeh Majd-Jabbari

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      Mohammad R. Torabi, PhD, MPH, FASHA, Professor; and Massoumeh Majd-Jabbari, PhD, Visiting Research Associate; Dept. of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, HPER Bldg., Room 116, Bloomington, IN 47405


Abstract

ABSTRACT: Data from a statewide survey, conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center, of 20,629 Indiana students in grades 5–12 were analyzed to determine the extent to which cigarette smoking predicted use of alcohol and other drugs and acted as a so-called “gateway drug.” A three-stage purposive/quota cluster sampling strategy yielded a representative sample of Indiana students, stratified by grade. Cross-tabulated data revealed a strong, dose-dependent relationship between smoking behavior and binge drinking, as well as use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Daily pack-a-day smokers were three times more likely to drink alcohol, seven times more likely to use smokeless tobacco, and 10–30 times more likely to use illicit drugs than nonsmokers. A stepwise multiple regression analyzed the role that the student's perceptions of the risk of using drugs and of peer approval/disapproval of the student's drug use, gender, grade in school, and ethnic background played in predicting alcohol and other drug use.

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