Adolescent sports participants are less likely to smoke cigarettes, and sports participation may prevent young people from smoking. Research suggests that the relationship between sports participation and smoking may vary by race/ethnicity and is also possibly moderated by exposure to peer smoking. We investigated these relationships in a sample of 311 adolescents ages 13-21 presenting for well-visit medical appointments. Participants completed valid assessments of demographics, sports participation, exposure to peer smoking, and smoking behavior. The primary outcome was smoking status (never smoked, tried smoking, experimental/current smoker). Ordinal logistic regression was used separately for non-Hispanic White (n= 122) and non-White (n= 189; 70.4% Black, 14.3% Hispanic, and 15.3% other) adolescents. Among White adolescents, sports participants had significantly lower odds of smoking than non-sports participants, independent of age, gender, and peer smoking. For non-Whites, the adjusted effect of sports participation on smoking depended upon exposure to peers who smoke. Compared with non-sport participants with no exposure to peer smoking, sports participants with no exposure to peer smoking had significantly lower odds of smoking, whereas sports participants with exposure to peer smoking had significantly higher odds of smoking. Sports appear to be protective against smoking among non-Hispanic White adolescents, but among non-White adolescents exposure to peer smoking influences this protection. Interventions incorporating sports to prevent smoking should consider these racial/ethnic differences to address disparities in smoking-related disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health