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Popular high school students more likely to smoke cigarettes

A new study concludes "popularity is a strong predictor of smoking,"
Teen Smoking Enlarge
An Indonesia teenager smokes on February 6, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. A new study suggests that any film containing smoking should be rated R to help curb teen smoking. (Dimas Ardian/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study shows that the most popular kids in school are also more likely to light up.

CBS News reported the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows the most popular teens in high school in both the US and Mexico are the most likely students to smoke cigarettes.

More from GlobalPost: On-screen smoking causes more teens to light up

According to the press release from the University of Southern California, author Thomas W. Valente said "we're still seeing this association more than 10 years later, despite marginal declines in smoking, suggests that popularity is a strong predictor of smoking behavior."

Valente and his colleagues asked almost 2,000 students in the ninth and tenth grades a number of questions: whether they tried tobacco, how much they had smoked in the last month and how their friends felt about smoking.

Researchers found that those who believed their close friends smoked were also more likely to smoke, even if their perception was wrong.

The study also found popular teens started smoking earlier than less popular kids.

Valente told HealthDay, "We haven't done enough to make it cool not to smoke."

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/popular-high-school-students-more-likely-smoke-cigarettes