OBJECTIVE: To evaluate components of the teenage smoking prevention programmes of the American Lung Association (ALA) and the Tobacco Institute (TI). DESIGN: Group administration of written questionnaires in school. The components of the ALA's and TI's programmes were presented to students in seven strategy vignettes, covering the following topics: peer pressure/enhanced communication; parents as role models; health consequences of smoking; cost of smoking; smoking as an illegal act; tips for quitting smoking; and responsible decision making. SUBJECTS AND SETTING: 172 seventh-grade students (mean age = 12.3 years) from six parochial schools in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Student ratings of the perceived effectiveness of the ALA and TI approaches (in helping to stop teens from smoking) within each strategy vignette, and students' choice between these two approaches as to which was the better smoking prevention technique. RESULTS: Although there were some moderating effects of gender and race, participants overall strongly favoured the ALA programme over that of the TI. Of the seven programme components, the ALA's approach was rated more effective on six (peer pressure, parents as role models, the health consequences of smoking, the cost of smoking, tips for quitting smoking, responsible decision making) and the TI's was rated more effective on one (not smoking because it is illegal). CONCLUSIONS: The ALA's programme was perceived to be much more effective than the TI's programme by those whom these programmes are ultimately intended to influence-young people. Future research in this area should pursue longitudinal designs to determine if programme endorsement is predictive of smoking status.
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