Associations Between Smoking and Media Literacy in College Students

Organizations recommend media literacy to reduce tobacco use, and higher media literacy has been associated with lower smoking among high school students. The relationship between smoking media literacy and tobacco use, however, has not been systematically studied among college students. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between smoking and smoking media literacy among college students. We conducted the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) at a large, urban university, adding six items measuring smoking media literacy. A total of 657 students responded to this random sample e-mail survey. We used multiple logistic regression to determine independent associations between smoking media literacy items and current smoking. The media literacy scale was internally consistent (α = 0.79). Of the respondents, 21.5% reported smoking cigarettes over the past 30 days. In a fully adjusted multivariate model, participants with medium media literacy had an odds ratio (OR) for current smoking of 0.45 (95% CI = 0.29, 0.70), and those with high media literacy had an OR for current smoking of 0.38 (95% CI = 0.20, 0.70). High smoking media literacy is independently associated with lower odds of smoking. Smoking media literacy may be a valuable construct to address in college populations.

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