The first Texas Youth Tobacco Survey (TXYTS) was conducted in 1998 following the landmark Texas tobacco settlement. The decision to allocate a percentage of settlement funds to tobacco education and prevention efforts spurred state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to look at how changes in youth tobacco use brought about by these prevention efforts could be evaluated.
The CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which looks at youth behaviors leading to the nation's leading causes of death, had already been successfully implemented at the national, state and school district levels. This survey provided a ready mechanism for scientific surveillance of youth tobacco attitudes, knowledge and behaviors. The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) is the national surveillance model for youth tobacco use.
In 1998, Texas was one of the first states to begin statewide youth tobacco surveillance using this system. Currently, the NYTS and the TXYTS are conducted in Texas schools during spring of every even-numbered year, while the national and state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys are conducted during spring of odd-numbered years. This pattern allows for data collected at the state level to be compared with national data.
Approximately 250 middle and high schools across the state are randomly selected to participate in the TXYTS each even-numbered school year. Once the TXYTS sample is selected, no other school may be substituted for a selected school, making voluntary participation of each school critical to the success of the survey.
Within each selected school, classes are randomly selected to participate rather than surveying every student. For example, in a selected school, five to ten second period classes may be surveyed during a spring survey period.
Survey procedures are designed to protect students' privacy by allowing for anonymous and voluntary participation. Students complete a self-administered questionnaire in the classroom, recording their responses on an answer sheet. Answer sheets are used only to record responses to questions. No information that identifies the student is collected.
Data from the TXYTS are only representative of middle and high school students at the state and public health region level. Data are not representative of any individual school or district and no participating schools or districts are identified in reports of results.