Maryland's Tobacco Resource Center - Linking Professionals to Best Practices

Young Adult Smoking Risk Factors: Impulsivity, Regular Alcohol Use, Poor Grades


A recent study conducted by O’Loughlin and colleagues at the University of Montreal has identified several risk factors that lead to habitual tobacco use in young adults: impulsivity, alcohol use, and poor grades.  Middle and high school students were administered self-report questionnaires about their academics, tobacco and alcohol use, and other demographic information every three months for five years and twice in the six years following high school.  The researchers found that, of the 32 predictors they examined, impulsivity, alcohol use, and poor grades were commonly associated with smoking. Among those who became smokers, 44% of started smoking before high school and 43% started during high school. The researchers stress the need to address prevention in adolescents and young adults.