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School-Based Smoking Prevention Programs Work

Programs' effectiveness seen one year or more after implementation

WEDNESDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- School-based smoking prevention programs do deter young people from smoking, according to a review published online April 30 in The Cochrane Library.

Roger E. Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Calgary in Canada, and colleagues conducted a literature search through October 2012 to identify randomized controlled trials evaluating school-based smoking cessation or deterrence programs for at least six months.

The researchers included 49 studies (142,447 individuals) in the Pure Prevention cohort. Pooled results found no overall effect of intervention curricula versus control at one year or less of follow-up. Combined social competence and social influences curricula (six studies) had a significant effect on preventing the onset of smoking, but significant effects were not seen in information only, social influences only, or multimodal interventions. Fifteen studies (45,555 individuals) in the Change in Smoking Behavior Over Time cohort found a small, but statistically significant, effect favoring controls at one year, but the results were no longer significant at longer follow-up. In the Point Prevalence of Smoking cohort (25 studies), data could not be pooled due to group heterogeneity.

"Pure Prevention cohorts showed a significant effect at longest follow-up, with an average 12 percent reduction in starting smoking compared to the control groups," the authors write.

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