Two new studies have discovered cognitive behavioral training and motivational interviewing are effective telephonic strategies to help teens stop smoking.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle designed the trial to evaluate to what extent telephone counseling could help teenagers quit smoking.
The researchers proactively identified more than 2,000 smokers via classroom surveys of juniors in 50 high schools in Washington state. In 25 of the high schools, after parental approval teen smokers received personalized smoking cessation counseling that combined motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral skills training.
These included using the smoker’s own words and values to increase importance of quitting, anticipating and coping with stress and other triggers to smoke, and making plans for stopping. The study also included more than 700 nonsmokers to ensure that contacting students for participation in the trial would not reveal a participant’s smoking status.
More than a year after the intervention began, nearly 89 percent of the students completed a followup survey in which 22 percent of intervened smokers reported 6-month prolonged abstinence from smoking, compared to 18 percent among students in the no-intervention control arm. There was also strong evidence that the intervention had made a difference for 3-month, 1-month, and 7-day abstinence and for the length of time since last cigarette.
The research is found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
An accompanying paper by Kathleen Kealey, also from the Hutchinson Center’s Cancer Prevention Program, Division of Public Health Sciences, and colleagues describes the design of the counseling intervention used to attain these results, as well as its implementation and assessments of counseling fidelity and adherence to protocol.
This is the first adolescent smoking cessation trial to report a statistically significant intervention impact on 6-month prolonged abstinence, as measured one year post-intervention, in a large, general population of teens.
“The results of the [Hutchinson Study] trial show that proactive identification and recruitment of adolescents via public high schools can produce a high level of intervention reach,” the authors write, “and that delivery of a proactive, personalized counseling intervention via the telephone by well-trained counselors can be effective in increasing teen smoking cessation.”