The purpose of the study was to collect attitudinal and behavioral data on a sample of college students from a Southern state university regarding tobacco usage. The sample was designed to include both smokers and non-smokers. A non-probability sample of 508 college students was collected by handing out surveys in classes and in campus buildings. The questionnaire was designed by the students and the authors and included half of Pechmann and Shih’s (1999) smoking perceptions scale items. Users made up 36.6% of the sample. The average length of time reported using tobacco products was five years, with 78.3% stating they had begun using before coming to college. Over 80% reported having at least one relative who smoked. Three out of Pechmann and Shih’s four factors were reproduced in this study for users; however, factor analysis failed to load properly for non-users. Non-users cited health risks and bad habit as reasons for not using tobacco products. Over 50% of non-users were concerned or very concerned about exposure to second-hand smoke. Female non-users were more concerned about second-hand smoke exposure than were male non-users. Perceptions of users were lower on behalf of non-users than self-perceptions were for users. Users appear to not be affected by anti-smoking campaigns whereas non-users have apparently been influenced by such campaigns. Social marketing campaigns designed to restructure these perceptions may be appropriate to use instead of pure anti-use campaigns.



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