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Pediatrics. 2011 Nov;128(5):926-36. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0520. Epub 2011 Oct 17.

Effectiveness of a school nurse-delivered smoking-cessation intervention for adolescents.

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  • 1Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.



To evaluate the effectiveness of a school nurse-delivered smoking-cessation intervention in increasing abstinence among adolescent smokers.


Thirty-five high schools were pair-matched and randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions, each of which consisted of 4 visits with the school nurse: (1) counseling intervention using the 5 A's model and cognitive-behavioral techniques; or (2) an information-attention control condition. Adolescents (n = 1068) who reported past 30-day smoking and interest in quitting completed surveys at baseline and at 3 and 12 months and provided saliva samples for biochemical validation of reported smoking abstinence.


Intervention condition participants were almost twice as likely to be abstinent per self-report at 3 months (odds ratio: 1.90 [95% confidence interval: 1.12-3.24]; P = .017) compared with control participants; at 12 months there were no differences. The difference at 3 months was driven by quit rates in male students (15.0% [intervention] vs 4.9% [control]; odds ratio: 3.23 [95% confidence interval: 1.63-6.43]; P = .001); there was no intervention effect in female students at either time point (6.6% vs 7.0% at 3 months and 16.6% vs 15.5% at 12 months) and no intervention effect in male students at 12 months (13.9% vs 13.2%). Smoking amount and frequency decreased significantly in intervention compared with control schools at 3 but not at 12 months.


A school nurse-delivered smoking-cessation intervention proved feasible and effective in improving short-term abstinence among adolescent boys and short-term reductions in smoking amount and frequency in both genders. Additional research is needed to enhance both cessation and maintained abstinence.

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