About Us

Why Does LTPB Exist?

  1. Young adults have the highest smoking prevalence of all age groups1
  2. Half of young adults are in school2
  3. Smoking initiation and escalation occurs among college/university students:
    • 19% of current smokers began smoking regularly after arriving on campus3
    • 10% of post-secondary smokers had their first cigarette after the age of 194,5
    • 10% of non-smoking students intend to start smoking6
    • most post-secondary students over-estimate how many of their peers smoke7
    • See also8,9,10
  4. Nicotine is among the most addictive drugs known, and even occasional smokers can become life-long smokers:
    • among young adults who have ever smoked but are not currently established (daily) smokers, approximately 54% are at risk for smoking in the future11
    • among established smokers – including those who are trying to quit (i.e., have been smoke-free for less than 1 year) approximately 86% are at risk for future smoking11


  • stress associated with the transition to and experiences of college/university life may magnify the risk of smoking uptake and escalation12-14
  • intensive tobacco marketing strategies targeting this population may also escalate tobacco consumption of post-secondary students15-17
  • experimentation with recreational drugs peaks in mid-adolescence, but the risk period for smoking onset/escalation and overuse of alcohol extends into the early 20s18-20

Young adult smokers on college and university campuses represent a sizable and definable population with which to intervene around smoking. Most post-secondary smokers want to quit, and make repeated quit attempts21. Appealing, accessible smoking cessation strategies that reach a wide audience and assist smokers to quit are needed on post-secondary campuses.


1 CTUMS (2008). Health Canada’s Tobacco Control Programme. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey: Smoking Prevalence 1999-2008

Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2009. Accessed September 29th 2009.

2 AUCC (2008). Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Fall 2008 preliminary full-time and part-time enrolment at AUCC member institutions. http://www.aucc.ca/policy/research/enrol_e.html Accessed September 29th 2009.

3 Rigotti, N., Lee, J.E., & Wechsler, H. (2000). US college students’ use of tobacco products: results of a national survey. JAMA, 284, 699-705.

4 Everett, S., Husten, C., Kann, L., Warren, C., Sharp, D., & Crossett, L. (1999). Smoking initiation and smoking patterns among US college students. Journal of American College Health, 48, 55-60.

5 Cairney, J. & Lawrance, K.G. (2002). Smoking on campus. An examination of smoking behaviours among post-secondary students in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 93, 313-316.

6 DeBernardo, R., Aldinger, C., Dawood, O., Hanson, R., Lee, S., & Rinaldi, S. (1999). An e-mail assessment of undergraduates’ attitudes toward smoking. Journal of American College Health, 48, 61-66.

7 Page, R. (1998). College students’ distorted perception of the prevalence of smoking. Psychological Reports, 82, 474.

8 Wetter, D.W., Kenford, S.L., Welsh, S.K., Smith, S.S., Fouladi, R.T., Fiore, M.C. & Baker, T.B. (2004) Prevalence and predictors of smoking behavior among college students. Health Psychology, 23(2), 168-177. [Abstract]

9 Lantz, P., Jacobson, P., Warner, K., et al. (2000). Investing in youth tobacco control: a review of smoking prevention and control strategies. Tobacco Control, 9, 47-63.

10 Moskal, P., Dziuban, C., & West, G. (1999). Examining the use of tobacco on college campuses. Journal of American College Health, 47, 260-265.

11 Gilpin, E., White, V., & Pierce, J. (2005). What fraction of young adults are at risk for future smoking, and who are they? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 7, 747-759.

12 Steptoe, A., Wardle, J., Plooard, T., Canaan, L., & Davies, G. (1996). Stress, social support and health-related behavior: a study of smoking, alcohol consumption and physical exercise. Journal of Psychomotor Research, 41, 171-180.

13 Lenz, B. (2004). Tobacco, Depression, and Lifestyle Choices in the Pivotal Early College Years. Journal of American College Health, 52, 213-219.

14 Naquin, M., & Gilbert, G. (1996). College students’ smoking behavior, perceived stress, and coping styles. Journal of Drug Education 26, 367-377.

15 Ling, P., & Glantz, S. (2002). Why and How the Tobacco Industry Sells Cigarettes to Young Adults: Evidence From Industry Documents. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 908-916.

16 Sepe, E., Ling, P., & Glantz, S. (2002). Smooth Moves: Bar and Nightclub Tobacco Promotions That Target Young Adults. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 414-419.

17 Rigotti, N., Moran, S., & Wechsler, H. (2005). US College Students’ Exposure to Tobacco Promotions: Prevalence and Association With Tobacco Use. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 138-144.

18 DeWit, D., Offord, R., & Wong, M. (1997). Patterns of onset and cessation of drug use over the early part of the life course. Health Education & Behavior, 24, 746–758.

19 Emmons, K.M., Wechsler, H., Dowdall, G., & Abraham, M. (1998). Predictors of smoking among US college students. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 104-107.

20 Sax, L. (1997). Health trends among college freshmen. Journal of American College Health, 45, 252–262.

21 Patterson, F., Lerman, C., Kaufmann, V., Neuner, G., & Audrain-McGovern, J. (2004). Cigarette smoking practices among American college students: Review and future directions. Journal of American College Health, 52, 203-210.

About Us
Scroll to top