Tobacco Use and Attachment Style in Appalachia

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Tobacco has been recognized as the number one cause of preventable death in America and results in almost 5.2 million years of potential life lost each year. The use of tobacco products is highly correlated with pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and other forms of chronic illness in America. New tobacco products are trending in the tobacco market such as the water pipe/hookah and e-cigarettes. With e-cigarettes and other newer forms of tobacco on the rise, it is important to look at the underlying factors for using all kinds of tobacco products as a means of prevention. Certain adult attachment styles (secure, preoccupied, dismissing-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant) in emotionally meaningful relationships could be indicators for physical illness, mental illness, and even addiction. This study investigated whether or not there is a relationship between tobacco use and attachment style. Based on a university-wide survey that was sent out at a university in Appalachia with 522 participants, demographic data revealed 68.5% (n = 358) did not currently use tobacco products. Of those who did currently use tobacco products 54.5% (n = 90) were male, 84.8% (n = 140) were undergraduate students, and 66.7% (n = 110) were between the ages of 18-25. For individuals who used tobacco 23.5% (n = 38) were in the secure attachment group, 27.8% (n = 45) were in the dismissing-avoidant attachment group, 30.2% (n = 49) were in the fearful-avoidant attachment group, and 18.5% (n = 30) were in the preoccupied attachment group. Chi Square analysis demonstrated that attachment style was significantly (p < 0.001) different between tobacco users and non-users revealing that there is a possibility for prevention of smoking initiation through the development of a secure attachment style.