University of Vermont

Office of Health Promotion Research

OHPR Abstract 105

Abstract 1990-1999

Flynn BS, Worden JK, Secker-Walker RH, Badger GJ, Geller BM. Cigarette smoking prevention effects of mass media and school interventions targeted to gender and age groups. J Health Educ. 1995 Mar-Apr;26(2):S45-51, (Supplement).

This study showed that a combination of school and mass media interventions can significantly reduce cigarette smoking prevalence throughout adolescence. The school smoking prevention program included a four-year curriculum taught by usual classroom teachers to students beginning in grades five, six, and seven. These activities were complemented by a mass media campaign conducted over the same four years. The media campaign included brief messages especially developed for six age- and gender-defined sub-groups of young people using diagnostic and formative research methods. These messages were broadcast with purchased time in radio and television programs preferred by these target audiences. To assess the additional impact obtained by combining the media campaign with the school program, these interventions were provided to young people in two communities while those in two similar communities received only the school program. Results from in-school surveys conducted beginning in grades four, five, and six showed that the combined interventions had a significantly greater impact on smoking behavior than the school program only. This effect persisted through grades 10, 11, and 12. These findings indicate that long-term smoking prevention can be achieved through media and school interventions that are well-targeted and intensive and that are provided to adolescents throughout the period of highest risk for smoking adoption.

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