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Teen Smoking Cessation Programs Improve Quit Rates

Smoking cessation programs geared to teen smokers are effective, a new review of studies has found. Teens who participate are more likely to kick the tobacco// habit than those who attempt to quit on their own.

'Most teens who are smokers do want to quit, but they need a lot of help, just as adults do,' said lead author Steve Sussman, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California. 'The good news is that teen smoking cessation looks promising. Programs have been developed that as a group are showing some effects.'

The most effective programs seem to be those that enhance motivation to quit, teach problem-solving skills or other cognitive-behavioral techniques to help teens cope with stress and temptation, or combat social influences that encourage smoking.

The review appears in the latest issue of Health Psychology as part of a new series. Each evidence-based review published centers on a specific psychological assessment or treatment conducted in the context of a physical disease process or risk reduction effort.

For this review, Sussman and his colleagues pooled together the findings from 48 studies that were focused on teen smokers and that used a control group. Sussman is the principal investigator for Project EX, one of the included programs.

The adolescents enrolled in these studies smoked an average of 10 cigarettes a day. About half of the participants were female. In the studies that recorded ethnicity, most of the teens were white.

The quit rate for teens who participated in smoking cessation programs was 9.1 percent, compared with 6.2 percent for teen smokers in the control group. This 2.9 percent absolute improvement translated to a 46 percent increase in the likelihood that teens enrolled in programs would quit.

Not all types of programming were equally successful. Programs that used cognitive-behavioral techniques or strategies to enhance motivation had significantly h
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