History of the Nebraska Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS)

What survey is this?

The Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) is part of the National youth tobacco surveillance system designed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help states to improve the capacity to design, implement and evaluate their own tobacco prevention and control programs. The national coordination of the survey allows for Nebraska to compare its survey results to results from other states and the nation as a whole.

Why Participate?

The YTS is a statewide survey that provides tobacco-related information not captured through the YRBS and NRPFSS. This information can help the state and communities plan effective youth tobacco prevention initiatives.

What topics does it cover?

The YTS collects detailed information regarding the quantity and frequency of tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff and cigars) by adolescents. It also measures knowledge, perceptions and attitudes on health risks associated with tobacco use, indicators of the impact of media and advertising, enforcement of minors’ access regulations and laws, school tobacco curriculum, cessation, and exposure to secondhand smoke. The questions on YTS have been tested by CDC to ensure that they are reliable and valid and the survey administration procedures were designed to protect the confidentiality of the student and school district and encourage honest responses from the students.

Who is eligible to participate?

Nebraska conducts the YTS in high schools. Public high school students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate.

When is it conducted?

The state began to conduct the survey in 1999/2000 and has been conducted every spring of each even year except for 2004. In 2008, the YTS was only conducted in the high schools due to logistical issues. The 2014 administration will be the seventh time that the YTS will be conducted in Nebraska schools. Because YTS is now under the umbrella of SHARP, data is collected in the fall of even calendar years beginning in 2010.

How are data collected?

YTS uses a two stage probability sample design that is proportional to school enrollment. Nebraska high schools are randomly selected to participate, and within selected schools, specific classrooms are randomly selected. Students in selected classrooms complete the survey in one class period.

Who conducts the survey?

YTS is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Disease Prevention, and Health Promotion’s Tobacco Free Nebraska Program. The Bureau of Sociological Research (BOSR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln began administering the survey in the fall of 2010.

What is unique about the YTS?

The YTS is a robust data source for state and local health departments as well as coalitions and agencies working to reduce tobacco use. It is an excellent data source for determining youth exposure to both pro and anti-tobacco messages and interventions. YTS is one of very few public health surveys that generate data specifically for middle school aged students.