University of Vermont

Office of Health Promotion Research

OHPR Abstract 44

Abstract 1990-1999

Flynn BS, Worden JK, Secker-Walker RH, Badger GJ, Geller BM, Costanza MC. Prevention of cigarette smoking through mass media intervention and school programs. Am J Public Health. 1992 Jun;82(6):827-34.

OBJECTIVES. In this study we tested the ability of mass media interventions to enhance the efficacy of school cigarette smoking prevention programs. METHODS. For 4 years, students in one pair of communities received media interventions and school programs that had common educational objectives. Students in a matched pair of communities received only the school programs. The combined cohort of 5458 students was surveyed at baseline in grades 4, 5, and 6 and was followed up annually for 4 years. RESULTS. Significant reductions in reported smoking, along with consistent effects on targeted mediating variables, were observed for the media-and-school group. For cigarettes per week the reduction was 41% (2.6 vs 4.4); for smoking cigarettes yesterday the reduction was 34% (8.6% vs 13.1%); and for smoking in the past week the reduction was 35% (12.8% vs 19.8%). No effects were observed for substance use behaviors not targeted by the interventions. CONCLUSIONS. These results provide evidence that mass media interventions are effective in preventing cigarette smoking when they are carefully targeted at high-risk youths and share educational objectives with school programs.

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