Did You Know: Youth Exiting Foster Care Are At High Risk For Smoking


Among the struggles faced by youth currently in or recently exiting foster care, tobacco use remains a low priority for practitioners and researchers, alike. A recently published study aimed to determine the prevalence of lifetime and current combustible and non-combustible tobacco use among youth exiting foster care, and report on the prevalence of nicotine dependence, motivation to quit, and preferred methods of tobacco cessation. Youth aged 18-24 who were transitioning from foster care (N = 154) completed a survey of tobacco product use.


Findings included:

  • Most participants (76%) reported lifetime use of combustible cigarettes, while almost half (42%) were current combustible cigarette smokers.
  • Current use of electronic cigarettes was comparable to general population rates.
  • Many participants (76%) reported interest in quitting and willingness to try through patches/gum (56%) and technology-based (61%) approaches.


The researchers concluded that youth exiting foster care are at high risk for smoking and other tobacco product use, as well as dependence, yet are rarely screened for use or advised to quit.


Source: Braciszewski et al. (2019). Combustible Cigarette Smoking and Alternative Tobacco Use in a Sample of Youth Transitioning from Foster Care. Children and Youth Services Review, 96:231-236.

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