Examining the age of initiation of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana among adolescents

Hillary Lapham, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Early substance initiation has been shown to have significant negative health effects. The current study aimed to identify factors associated with initiation of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Data came from Wave 3 of Healthy Passages: A Community-Based Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a prospective cohort study of fifth grade students from Alabama, California, and Texas. Data for 5,147 students were analyzed. Participants were approximately evenly distributed between females (50.71) and males (49.29) and the majority were non-White (75.60). We found the strongest predictors of initiating substance use were perceived peer use of alcohol (β = -0.14 [-0.83, -0.21]) and perceived peer use of marijuana (β = -0.15 [-0.70, -0.23]). Results from this study highlight the importance of perceived peer use as well as interventions that aim to delay substance initiation.

Subject Area

Health sciences|Health education

Recommended Citation

Lapham, Hillary, "Examining the age of initiation of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana among adolescents" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1599378.