Tobacco Use Among Adolescents Entering Quebec Youth Protection Centers
CPS ePoster Library. Haley N. Jun 22, 2016; 128103; 32
Nancy Haley
Nancy Haley
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Background: Every year between 4,000 and 5,000 adolescents reside in Quebec Youth Protection Centers (YPCs). Many of these adolescents use tobacco products and other psychotropic substances that impact their present and future well-being.

Objectives: Document the prevalence of tobacco use among youth residing in YPCs and identify associated factors. Describe the measures taken to implement policies for smoke-free environments in YPCs and promote smoking cessation counseling for youth in care.

Methods: Between July 2008 and May 2009, adolescents aged 14-17 living in six YPCs across Quebec were recruited on a volunteer basis to participate in a surveillance study on health risk behaviors. Data on socio-demographics, lifetime substance use and sexual risk behaviors, as well as certain health consequences related to these behaviors were obtained during structured, face-to-face interviews. An analysis of factors associated with daily tobacco use was carried out.

Result: Data on behaviors reported during the year prior to admission were collected among 499 participants (boys: 59%; median age: boys: 16; girls: 15). Lifetime tobacco use was reported by 93% of girls and 91% of boys (median age at first cigarette was 12 years). During the year prior to admission, 15% of youth reported no tobacco use, and 20% smoked occasionally. Two thirds (65%) reported daily tobacco use, with 36% of girls and 43% of boys smoking 10 or more cigarettes a day. In univariate analysis, factors significantly (p<0.05) associated with daily smoking were: school failure or dropping out; family history of problematic alcohol or drug use; precocious initiation of alcohol use before age 13; history of regular use of alcohol or cannabis; problematic drug use (measured by DEP-ADO scale); having 6 or more lifetime sexual partners.Following dissemination of these results, measures were taken to develop a smoke-free policy and implementation plan for YPCs. Health professionals were trained to do brief interventions with all youth smokers entering care. In 2015 the YPC presented a brief to the provincial parlimentary committee on the Tobacco Act to support adoption of smoke-free policies for all health establishments in Québec.

Conclusion: Daily tobacco use is very prevalent among adolescents entering YPCs and the majority report problematic use of other psychoactive substances. Youth entering care merit screening for tobacco and drug use so that appropriate counseling can be initiated. Promoting policies that encourage smoke-free environments in child protection centers for both youth and the professionals working with them may greatly improve the chances for youth to live tobacco-free.
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