Personalized Telephone Counselling Helps Teens Kick the Butt

by VR Sreeraman on Oct 14 2009 2:57 PM

Intervention programmes dedicated to eliminating cigarette smoking among teenagers have shown promising results with the impact rate of six-month continuous quitting, say researchers.

The trial launched by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center could successfully recruit and retain a large number of adolescent smokers from the general population.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study involved 2,151 teenage smokers. Half of the schools were randomly assigned to the experimental intervention; teens in these schools were invited to take part in confidential, personalized telephone counseling designed to help motivate them to quit.

At the completion of the study, 21.8 percent of all smokers (daily and less than daily) in the counseling group had achieved continuous quitting for six months, as compared to 17.7 percent of those in the comparison group, a difference of 4 percent.

The intervention also impacted three-month, one-month and seven-day smoking abstinence, with differences between the counseling group and the comparison group of 3.3 percent, 6.8 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

Notably, the one-month and seven-day quit rates among the smokers who received telephone counseling were roughly three times higher than those reported in nearly 50 previous adolescent smoking-cessation trials of a variety of interventions conducted over the past two decades.

"These results are critically important for supporting and stimulating our nation's search to find successful ways to help reduce smoking by teens and young adults," said Arthur V. Peterson Jr., Ph.D.

The findings are reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.