Adolescent Smokers' Preferred Smoking Cessation Methods

By Lawrance, Kelli-an G | Canadian Journal of Public Health, November/December 2001 | Go to article overview

Adolescent Smokers' Preferred Smoking Cessation Methods


Lawrance, Kelli-an G, Canadian Journal of Public Health


Interventions that are efficacious and appeal to youth are needed to help adolescents quit smoking. High school smokers (N=585) completed surveys about their smoking cessation preferences. When asked which of 13 quitting options they would most prefer to use, 28.2% selected quit contracts with friends, and 7.6% endorsed selfhelp programs. Nicotine replacement therapy, group programs and web-based programs were preferred by 4.9%, 3.9%, and 1.0% of respondents, respectively. Most students wanted proof of the intervention's effectiveness. Confidentiality and ease of use were favourably associated with self-help and pharmacological interventions, while social support was associated with group programs. Findings suggest that self-directed interventions, offered as part of a school-wide challenge, with prizes awarded to students who quit, are attractive to youth. More research is needed to determine how to engage adolescent smokers in the quitting process.

It faut des interventions efficaces et attrayantes pour les adolescents si l'on veut les aider a censer de fumer. Des eleves fumeurs du secondaire (N=585) ont rempli des questionnaires sur leurs methodes preferees de renoncement au tabac. Sur les 13 choix possibles, 28,2 % des eleven ont choisi les pactes de renoncement entre amis, et 7,6 %, les programmes d'auto-assistance. Les traitements de substitution de la nicotine, les programmes de groupe et les programmes accessibles sur Internet ont eu la preference de 4,9 %, 3,9 % et 1,0 % des repondants, respectivement. La plupart des eleven voulaient des preuves de l'efficacite des interventions. La confidentialite et la facilite d'utilisation etaient associees positivement aux programmes d'auto-assistance et de pharmacologie, tandis que le soutien social etait associe aux programmes de groupe. Les resultats portent a croire que les interventions auto-dirigees dans le cadre d'un deft dans route l'ecole, avec des prix pour les eleven qui cessent de fumer, sont tres attrayantes pour les jeunes. It faudrait pousser la recherche pour determiner comment enclencher chez les adolescents le desir de renoncer au tabac.

Despite at least two decades of antismoking messages and interventions for youth, a large proportion of Canadian adolescents become smokers.1,2 Most of these young smokers express serious intentions to give up smoking and many make repeated quit attempts, however few successfully quit on their own.3-7 This situation points to a need for smoking cessation interventions that are efficacious, and appealing to youth.

In response to this need, a number of smoking cessation interventions have been created for teens. Most of these interventions are aimed at students, and most follow a group format.8,9 There is some evidence that these approaches help teens quit smoking, however participation rates for most interventions - and especially group programs - remain discouragingly low.5-18 Given that the population impact of a smoking cessation intervention depends on its efficacy and the number of smokers using it, 16,17 strategies to enhance participation rates warrant further attention.

One potential avenue for enhancing participation rates is to ensure that interventions appeal to, and thus will be used by youth. Findings from the handful of studies specifically addressing adolescent smokers' preferences indicate that teens prefer self-directed approaches over the more regimented format of group programs.10-12,15 Questions remain, however, about the specific self-directed approaches young smokers prefer, how and when to offer them, and what method of program delivery is preferred. Additionally, given that there are some adolescent smokers for whom group programs, or other assisted methods of quitting smoking may be more suitable, questions about preferred characteristics of these interventions also require attention. This study of adolescents' preferred approaches to quitting addresses these questions. …

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