OBJECTIVE Experimental evaluation of comprehensive community wide programme to prevent adolescent tobacco use.
DESIGN Eight pairs of small Oregon communities (population 1700 to 13 500) were randomly assigned to receive a school based prevention programme or the school based programme plus a community programme. Effects were assessed through five annual surveys (time 1–5) of seventh and ninth grade (ages 12–15 years) students.
INTERVENTION The community programme included: (a) media advocacy, (b) youth anti-tobacco activities, (c) family communications about tobacco use, and (d) reduction of youth access to tobacco.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE The prevalence of self reported smoking and smokeless tobacco use in the week before assessment.
RESULTS The community programme had significant effects on the prevalence of weekly cigarette use at times 2 and 5 and the effect approached significance at time 4. An effect on the slope of prevalence across time points was evident only when time 2 data points were eliminated from the analysis. The intervention affected the prevalence of smokeless tobacco among grade 9 boys at time 2. There were also significant effects on the slope of alcohol use among ninth graders and the quadratic slope of marijuana for all students.
CONCLUSION The results suggest that comprehensive community wide interventions can improve on the preventive effect of school based tobacco prevention programmes and that effective tobacco prevention may prevent other substance use.
- smokeless tobacco
- primary prevention
- intervention studies
- adolescent behaviour
- community interventions
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