Author(s)

Beth Fera

Date Approved

9-30-2014

Embargo Period

10-5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Criminal Justice

Department

Law and Justice Studies

College

College of Humanities & Social Sciences

First Advisor

Foglia, Wanda

Subject(s)

Tobacco use--Children and youth;Human behavior

Disciplines

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Abstract

In 2005, New Jersey enacted the Smoke Free Air Act to deter the onset of smoking of high school students by raising the legal age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 19 (Cave, Holl, & Schweber, 2005). This was intended to reduce smoking in this population by restricting virtually all high school students' access to cigarettes; however, this legislation also reduced smoking in ways proposed by the concepts of Ronald Akers' Social Learning Theory (1979). The present study postulated limiting access to cigarettes would reduce all measures of cigarettes use, resulting in fewer smoking associates to model smoking behavior, fewer favorable definitions of cigarettes, and less reinforcement of the behavior. Using the data from the New Jersey Youth Tobacco Survey for the years 2004 and 2008, this study found that a statistically significant difference exists before and after this legislation in terms of Prevalence, Frequency, and Intensity of adolescent cigarette use. These differences also showed support for Social Learning Theory in this context and the theory's ability to predict cigarette use in this population.

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