A smoking-prevention strategy that targets black fourth-graders and their parents is under study in urban and rural Georgia.
Researchers want to know if they can keep these children from smoking and help smoking parents quit, according to Dr. Martha S. Tingen, nurse researcher at the Medical College of Georgias Georgia Prevention Institute, and Interim Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, MCG Cancer Center.
Dr. Tingen is principal investigator on a $2.5 million National Cancer Institute grant to determine if this novel strategy of concurrent intervention in the classroom and at home reduces smoking and related disability and death in blacks. Blacks tend to have higher rates of second-hand smoke exposure and more adverse health effects than whites.
Every day in Georgia, 84 kids between 10 to 13 years of age start smoking cigarettes, says Dr. Tingen. Ninety percent of all smokers start before they are out of high school. If we can help keep kids from smoking before they get out of high school, they probably wont ever start. I am hoping the fourth graders havent started smoking, but I am thinking a lot of them still are exposed to tobacco use and second-hand smoke in the home.
Researchers are enrolling 350 students and their parents or guardians in 16 elementary schools in Augusta, Ga., and rural Jefferson County, Ga., about 60 miles away. During the fourth and fifth grades, half the children will get two intense learning sessions per week over four weeks of Life Skills Training, developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, director of the Institute for Prevention Research at Cornell University Medical College.
Children will learn basics such as communication skills, decision-making and assertiveness. Their parents/guardians will get similar instruction as well as additional information on topics such as being a good role model and effective parenting skills.
Pilot studies in 60 families showed Life S
|Contact: Toni Baker|
Medical College of Georgia