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J Dent Hyg. 2005 Fall;79(4):9. Epub 2005 Oct 1.

Development and evaluation of a tobacco cessation motivational program for adolescents based on physical attractiveness and oral health.

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  • 1Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Venice, California, USA.



Little is known about how to motivate youth to participate in smoking cessation programs. This paper reports an investigation of the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention that used vanity and oral health issues associated with tobacco use to motivate adolescent tobacco users to enter a school-based tobacco cessation program.


Sixty-four continuation high school students aged 14 to 19 (31% female) and living in rural California participated in a youth-oriented, vanity and oral health-focused intervention designed to motivate tobacco users to join a six-week tobacco cessation group.


Following the intervention, 21 of 37 (57%) regular smokers signed up for the cessation program. Of these smokers, seven (33%) did not indicate on the baseline questionnaire any desire to quit smoking. Of the 21 smokers who signed up to participate in the cessation program, 16 (76%) actually participated (10 males and six females), eight (50%) completed all treatment sessions, and four (25%) reported that they quit smoking at the end of the program.


Overall program evaluations were very favorable. Findings were interpreted to provide support for the feasibility and acceptability of using physical appearance and oral health-oriented programs to motivate adolescent tobacco users to enter school-based cessation programs. Further study is needed to determine the effectiveness of such programs.

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