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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 Jun 5;70(3):223-32.

Treatment of adolescent tobacco smokers: issues and opportunities for exposure reduction approaches.

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Intramural Research Program, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


The cycle of tobacco dependence typically begins with the initiation of tobacco use during adolescence. Many teenagers try to quit smoking, fail and subsequently desire treatment for their tobacco dependence. Adolescents do not currently benefit from the same level of societal support for quit attempts as adults, and they may be less motivated for total cessation despite the short and long-term health consequences of smoking. Overall, the combination of low participation, high attrition and low complete cessation rates for adolescent smokers in treatment prompts the consideration of alternative treatment endpoints. It is likely that interactions among the processes of child and adolescent development, smoke exposure and trajectory influence patterns of tobacco use and treatment for tobacco dependence in adolescents. A rational framework is needed to integrate the study of these dynamic interactions to address tobacco dependence among youth from an exposure reduction, in addition to a cessation, perspective. This paper considers the issues and potential implications of tobacco exposure reduction therapy as an intermediate treatment goal for adolescent smokers who are dependent or dependence-prone, but for whom initial treatment interventions do not yield complete tobacco cessation.

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