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Tob Induc Dis. 2008 Aug 5;4:6. doi: 10.1186/1617-9625-4-6.

A profile of teen smokers who volunteered to participate in school-based smoking intervention.

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Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and Prevention Research Center, West Virginia University, PO Box 8110, Morgantown, WV 26506-8110, USA.



Although a number of population-based studies have examined the characteristics of teens who attempt to quit smoking, few have identified the characteristics of youth who participate in structured cessation interventions, particularly those with demonstrated effectiveness. The purpose of the present study is to describe the sociodemographic and smoking-related characteristics of teen smokers who participated in the American Lung Association's Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) program, spanning eight years. N-O-T is the most widely used teen smoking cessation program in the nation.


Drawn from multiple statewide N-O-T studies, this investigation examined data from 5,892 teen smokers ages 14-19 who enrolled in N-O-T between 1998-2006. We demonstrate similarities and differences between N-O-T findings and existing data from representative samples of US teen smokers where available and relevant.


N-O-T teens started smoking earlier, were more likely to be poly-tobacco users, were more dependent on nicotine, had made more previous attempts to quit, and were more deeply embedded in smoking contexts than comparative samples of teen smokers. Additionally, N-O-T teens were moderately ready to quit smoking, believed important people in their lives would support their quit efforts, yet had deficits in their confidence with quitting.


This profile of N-O-T teens can guide efforts for targeted recruitment strategies to enhance intervention reach for teen smoking cessation. Findings provide guidance for marketing and recruitment efforts of intensive, school-based cessation interventions among established teen smokers, particularly those who want to quit. Study results may shed light upon who is and is not enrolling in N-O-T.

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