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You are here: Home Modules Main Case Examples The Tobacco-Free Living and Young Adults (TFLYA) Socio-ecological assessment for tobacco-free living and young adults
Socio-ecological assessment for tobacco-free living and young adults Print E-mail

The next step, once it was decided to pursue this health issue, and to do so using a MIP approach, was to conduct a socio-ecological assessment.

Ontario Public Health PractionersSocio-ecological assessment for tobacco-free living and young adults

When planning for this project began in 1999, neither Ottawa nor Ontario had gone smoke-free. The socio-ecological assessment for the project could have looked like this:

  • What factors or determinants may be contributing to or causing the problem?
  • Social environment: teen and youth culture is conducive to smoking.
  • Non-smokers are exposed to smoke except where it’s restricted;
  • Smoking is permitted in public places including in designated areas in bars and restaurants and is allowed on campus in designated areas.
  • Student residences allow smoking in the building; some restrictions exist for certain floors.
  • Students who share rooms negotiate their smoking environment individually.
  • Young adults are more likely to engage in risky health behaviour than others;
  • Students face high social and economic stress; smoking is a coping mechanism for it.
  • People with low incomes are more likely to smoke and students have low incomes; at the same time, many are accumulating debt.
  • Higher cigarette prices lead to reduced smoking by youth.
  • Lower education levels are associated with higher smoking rates. A university education might act as a barrier to smoking uptake.

a) How are these factors or determinants linked?

  • Social environment may influence health practices of university students.
  • Smoking was allowed on campus.
  • Many students could not avoid daily exposure to smoking;
  • Some may be sharing their living space with a smoker for the first time.

b) How do different sectors and levels of the system see the health issue?

  • Students might not consider smoking to be an important issue.
  • Smokers might minimize health hazards of smoking.
  • Some university administrator and health professionals might see the issue mostly as an individual behaviour choice issue, others as a social policy issue. Either view influences the changes and approaches identified.

c) What system levels, partners, sectors and jurisdictions must be considered? Who should we involve in planning?

  • There was a legislated mandate to reduce smoking rates.
  • There are experts in tobacco control and quitting programs in the health unit.
  • Public health staff has experience working with youth in high schools.
  • The medical officer of health was committed to making Ottawa smoke-free.
  • University system might not make tobacco reduction a priority, because of other pressing issues (sexual health, alcohol abuse, mental health, social integration).

d) What system levels, partners, sectors and jurisdictions should we think about involving in planning?

  • University health centre
  • University administrators
  • Residence managers
  • Student bodies (to get buy-in for change).


Last Updated on Monday, 01 June 2009 08:01