Smoke Alarm

Clocking in Could Prove Hazardous to a Teen's Health

A teen who starts working for pay while still in school may be more than 8 times as likely to report tobacco use as peers who don't start working while in school.

Among teenagers, there is a strong link between working for pay and using tobacco. In one study of almost 800 tenth-graders, researchers found that working teens are considerably more likely to report tobacco use. Compared with a nonworking peer, a teen who works for pay while still in school is…

  • 1.38 times as likely to report tobacco use if he or she works 1 to 10 hours a week in grade 10.
  • 2.93 times as likely to report tobacco use if he or she works more than 10 hours a week in grade 10.
  • 8.00 times as likely to report tobacco use if he or she starts working between grades 10 and 11.
  • 8.67 times as likely to report tobacco use if he or she works in both grade 10 and grade 11.

Researchers recommend that policymakers "monitor the conditions under which young people work to help minimize young workers' tobacco use and potential for initiating use."

SOURCES: "The Effect of Working for Pay on Adolescent Tobacco Use," American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 97, No. 11, November  1, 2007, pp. 2056–2062, Rajeev Ramchand, Nicholas S. Ialongo, Howard D. Chilcoat; "Workplace Strategies Are Needed to Protect Youth Across the Globe from Starting to Smoke," Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 51, No. 3, September 2012, pp. 205–206, Rajeev Ramchand.

This report is part of the RAND infographic series. RAND infographics are design-focused, visual representations of data and information based on a published, peer-reviewed product or a body of published work.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.