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Minors’ tobacco possession law violations and intentions to smoke: implications for tobacco control
  1. N H Gottlieb1,
  2. A Loukas1,
  3. M Corrao1,
  4. A McAlister2,
  5. C Snell3,
  6. P P Huang4
  1. 1Department of Kinesiology & Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
  2. 2School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
  3. 3Prairie View A & M University, Texas, USA
  4. 4Bureau of Disease, Injury and Tobacco Prevention, Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Nell H Gottlieb PhD
 Department of Kinesiology & Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Bellmont Hall 222, Austin, TX 78712, USA;


Objectives: To test: (1) whether citation under the Minors in Possession (MIP) law, vicarious citation (knowing someone who was cited), and threat of driving licence suspension are associated with decreased intentions to smoke next year; and (2) whether the policy is differentially enforced.

Subjects: 28 249 white, Hispanic, and African American students in grades 6–12 (11–18 years old) participated in the study.

Method: The 86 item anonymous Texas Youth Tobacco Survey was completed by students attending 37 schools in 14 east and central Texas communities.

Results: Hierarchical linear modelling showed that MIP citation was unrelated to the future smoking intentions of most youth. However, there was a negative association between citation and smoking intentions for ever daily smoking youth at four schools. Threat of licence suspension was associated with a lower likelihood of future smoking intentions among ever daily smoking youth and vicarious citation did not deter youth from future smoking. African American and Hispanic youth had a higher probability of being cited than their peers.

Conclusions: Threat of driving licence suspension has the intended effect upon youth who are/were committed smokers and MIP citation has the intended effect upon committed smokers at only four schools. However, differential enforcement of the law based on ethnicity may be occurring. Before drawing firm conclusions, current findings must be replicated with longitudinal data to determine the consequences of citation on subsequent tobacco use.

  • HLM, hierarchical linear modelling
  • ICC, intraclass correlation coefficient
  • MIP, Minors in Possession
  • SCT, social cognitive theory
  • TATU, Teens Against Tobacco Use
  • TNT, Toward No Tobacco Use
  • YTS, Youth Tobacco Survey
  • minors’ in possession laws
  • youth tobacco use
  • threat of licence suspension
  • labelling theory

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