Nav: Home

Teens share stories to deter other students from using tobacco

September 26, 2019

An innovative strategy called Teens Against Tobacco Use showed promise as an effective strategy to deter tobacco use in middle and high school students, according to a research study by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health.

The study appeared today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"The most important takeaway message is that Teens Against Tobacco Use is a promising model in tobacco prevention," said senior author Louis Brown, PhD, assistant professor of health promotion and behavioral sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso, Texas.

The program, developed by the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association, partners teachers with youth interested in educating others about the dangers of tobacco.

Brown worked with the El Paso Independent School District to bring the tobacco prevention program to El Paso's teens with the help of the nonprofit Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

As part of the project, high school and middle school youth were trained to develop and present tobacco prevention messages to students in fourth through eighth grade in nine schools serving predominantly low-income Hispanic students in central El Paso. A total of 2,257 students took part in the evaluation. Classrooms were matched, with one classroom receiving the presentation first and the matched classroom receiving the presentation later, after the program had been evaluated.

Teachers from participating schools provided sample activities and coaching, but the students put together their own presentations. Some were particularly moving because they were taken from real life.

One student described growing up in a smoking household with the smell of tobacco smoke in her hair and clothes. Once someone had doused a cigarette butt in an open soda can, which she discovered when she took a drink. Another presenter described how his mother's smoking during pregnancy stunted his growth.

After sharing their stories, presenters were successful in getting many children in the classrooms to talk about smokers in their families, many of whom had chronic illnesses or had died because of the habit.

The students in the program took their advocacy further, speaking to the city council about a clean air ordinance.

"Their message was very persuasive, in part because of their passion, but also because adults are supposed to protect the health of our youth," said Brown. The city council passed the ordinance the students supported.

Students also did a cleanup event at a city park, flagging the places they found cigarette butts to highlight the problem of tobacco litter on playgrounds.

The results showed that students in the classrooms that received the tobacco prevention presentation had significantly lower tobacco susceptibility scores than classrooms that had not received the presentation - 12% in the early presentation group versus 17% in the latter group.
-end-
The program continued for three years, said Brown, and they are seeking funding to start it again.

Others who took part in the study were Frank C. Bandiera, PhD, a social and behavioral scientist administrator with the National Institutes of Health, and Melissa B. Harrell, PhD, associate professor at UTHealth School of Public Health.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation funded the research, with additional support from the National Cancer Institute (U54 CA153505).

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.
The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
Mass. public safety, public health agencies collaborate to address the opioid epidemic
A new study shows that public health and public safety agencies established local, collaborative programs in Massachusetts to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community support services following a non-fatal overdose.
Cyber attacks can threaten public health
Gordon and Landman have authored a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine that addresses the growing threat of attacks on information systems and the potential implications on public health.
Public health guidelines aim to lower health risks of cannabis use
Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released today with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.