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SRNT Update 5: The New Wave of Cessation


Scary time today.  Early this morning I received a text from back home in Hawaii about all this crazy tsunami stuff after the terrible earthquake in Chile.  Worried all morning about my family back home, it was hard to really have my head in the game.  I still managed to take in some posters and presentations, but hadn’t been able to write up anything until now because I had been glued to the TV.  Things have now been pretty much cleared, so it’s back to tobacco and nicotine!

Speaking of waves, as far as tobacco research, one of those new waves is cessation for adolescents.  That was certainly represented in the presentations here at the SRNT conference.  Let me ruin the ending for you: cessation for youth can and does work.  At least that’s according to the presentations I attended.  There are some barriers and lessons learned that the presenters did an awesome job in talking about. Here’s a quick rundown of what I got:

You might not want to call your youth cessation program a cessation program: Susan Druker from the University of Massachusetts in her presentation talked about how they called their youth cessation research project “Air It Out”.  This as a way to counter the stigma associated with youth cessation and instead capitalized on the idea that teens want to talk and air our their feelings on “stuff.”

Don’t make your cessation program just for smokers: Dr. Jeffrey Fellows from Kaiser Permanente and Dr. Arthur Peterson from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research designed interventions that provided services for both smokers and non-smokers.  This also helped to reduce the stigma of a teen going into a cessation program.  This also helped in recruitment and retention into the program.  Non-smokers would get some preventive information about tobacco or about other health topics.

Be Proactive: speakers pointed out that proactive recruitment and services were key to the efficacy of their interventions.  All programs not only saw significant increases in cessation rates between control and experimental group, but also saw huge retention rates.  While some recruited through well visits to pediatricians, others recruited through schools.

Build rapport: As with most programs that utilize motivational interviewing for cessation programs, rapport is very important to teen cessation.  It starts all the way at the beginning by emphasizing confidentiality, as Air It Out did, and by utilizing trained counselors in motivational interviewing.  Air It Out sent out individualized notes to each teen, which Druker believes was key to their high retention rates.

Kaiser partnered with Free & Clear to provide telephone counseling.  The Fred Hutchinson treatment center also provided phone services while Air It Out provided face to face. The topics covered in the counseling were similar to the topics that are covered in adult cessation, and the cessation rates were similar to those of adults.  One difference is that the youth were not provided with NRT, as it’s still not approved by the FDA.

I will have one more blog entry talking about the awesome posters at the conference.  Too many to share, but I will try to give a taste.

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