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The study also confirmed two earlier findings. The researchers found that students who provided higher estimates of how many other youth smoke were more likely to smoke than those who provided lower estimates. This finding was true regardless of whether children had relatively more or relatively fewer friends who smoked. In addition, the researchers found that sixth graders who had the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment, and had parents who monitored their behavior, were less likely to start smoking. Dr. Simons-Morton noted that the study was not a nationally representative survey, but was limited to four middle schools in one suburban location. Also, some groups of children may not have been fully represented in the study, because their parents did not give permission for them to participate, or because they were absent from class on survey days.
From a December 2002 National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development news release