The Social Climate Survey provides a method
to monitor changes in social and environmental
objectives, as well as an institutional framework
to organize and interpret these results.
This approach operationalizes the concept of
social climate into a set of quantifiable social
and environmental indicators - organized within
an institutional framework. Social scientists
typically conceptualize societal changes as
occurring through changes in social institutions,
such as the family, school, work place,
and government. As a fundamental component
of a society, these social institutions emerge as
clusterings of beliefs, norms, and practices.
Moreover, beliefs, norms, and practices about
tobacco use and tobacco control have evolved
in each of these institutional areas which then
shape the status of tobacco use in the social
fabric of American society. The Social
Climate Survey consists of a set of questions
designed to measure the norms, practices, and
beliefs concerning tobacco within each of the
following institutions; 1) Family and Friendship
Groups, 2) Education, 3) Government and
Political Order, 4) Work, 5) Health and Medical
Care, 6) Recreation, Leisure, and Sports, and 7)
Mass Communication and Culture.
Tobacco control and tobacco use is not carried
out in a vacuum. Youth and adults make
choices about tobacco use in the social context
of institutional beliefs, norms, and practices.