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Addict Behav. 2007 Sep;32(9):1769-86. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Evaluation of an Internet virtual world chat room for adolescent smoking cessation.

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Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, 9245 Sky Park Ct, Ste 120, San Diego, CA 92123, United States.


The goal of this longitudinal study was to test an innovative approach to smoking cessation that might be particularly attractive to adolescent smokers. The study was a participatory research effort between academic and school partners. The intervention used an Internet-based, virtual reality world combined with motivational interviewing conducted in real-time by a smoking cessation counselor. Participants were 136 adolescent smokers recruited from high schools randomized to the intervention or a measurement-only control condition. Those who participated in the program were significantly more likely than controls to report at the immediate post-intervention assessment that they had abstained from smoking during the past week (p<or=.01), smoked fewer days in the past week (p<or=.001), smoked fewer cigarettes in the past week (p<or=.01), and considered themselves a former smoke (p<or=.05). Only the number of times quit was statistically significant at a one-year follow-up assessment (p<or=.05). The lack of longer-term results is discussed, as are methodological challenges in conducting a cluster-randomized smoking cessation study.

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