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Phone Counseling Can Help Teens With Smoking Cessation


Phone counseling that is centered on motivational interviewing and personalized behavioral skills has been found to help teens with smoking cessation, according to a pair of studies published online October 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The two studies that were published in the Oct. 12 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggested that smoking cessation programs that involve phone counseling can make it easier for teens to give up the habit early.

Lead researcher Arthur V. Peterson, PhD and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle constructed this program to determine the effectiveness of telephone counseling.

They identified more than 2,000 smokers through classroom surveys of juniors in 50 high schools in Washington State. In half of those schools, teen smokers received smoking-cessation counseling that combined motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral skills training.

More than a year after the intervention started nearly 89% of the students completed a follow-up survey in which 22% of intervened smokers reported 6-month prolonged abstinence from smoking, compared to 18% among students in the no-intervention control arm. There was also strong evidence that the intervention had made a difference for 3-month, 1-month, and 7-day abstinence and for the length of time since last cigarette.

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An accompanying paper by Kathleen Kealey, also from the Hutchinson Center's Cancer Prevention Program, Division of Public Health Sciences describes the design of the counseling intervention used to get these results, as well as its implementation and assessments of counseling fidelity and adherence to protocol.

This is the first adolescent smoking cessation trial to report a statistically significant intervention impact on 6-month prolonged abstinence, as measured one year post-intervention, in a large, general population of teens.

"Telephone care increases the use of behavioral and pharmacologic assistance and leads to higher smoking cessation rates compared with routine health care provider intervention," the authors write.

Studies show that younger smokers are more likely to become addicted to nicotine than people who start smoking later. If people can stay away from tobacco in their teens, says the American Cancer Society, most would never start using it later in life.

Smoking is a difficult addiction to conquer and telephone counseling provides an important route of access to support for smokers and help teens with smoking cessation.

References: American Cancer Society and Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Oct. 12, 2009; vol 101

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth