Is LTPB Effective?
While there is considerable evidence speaking to the effectiveness of
smoking cessation interventions for adults, the same can not be said
of programs for youth and young adults.12,13,28,29 Therefore, program
evaluation is an integral component of LTPB.
Working around the challenges of maintaining contact with a highly mobile
population, the scheduling of exams and holidays, and the availability
of LTPB student-staff after the school year ends, two-to-three-month
follow-up data have been collected from a convenience sample of more
than 2,000 smokers who used LTPB programs or services.
Nearly one-third of these individuals experienced increased commitment
to quit, and 13% did in fact quit (based on a 7-day point prevalence
measure of total abstinence from smoking). Among participants still
smoking, the number of cigarettes smoked weekly decreasing by half
a pack on average. While biochemical verification of cessation was
not done, results of a recent review paper suggest that when population-based
interventions are being studied in the field, and the degree of participation
in an intervention is largely under the smokers’ control, then
demand characteristics for reporting quitting will generally be low.30
Thus, biochemical testing may not always be needed.
Annual environmental scans yield positive results. To assess the reach
of the communication campaign, for example, polling of students is
done in high traffic locations. Results reveal that in each of the
past two school years, face-to-face contact was made with nearly 20%
of the entire student population at the participating institutions,
and just over half were familiar with the goals and services of LTPB.
Based on the number of resources distributed and estimates of the proportion
of post-secondary students who smoke, it was also determined that nearly
5% of all full-time student smokers accessed LTPB programs and services.
This represents several thousand young adult smokers across multiple
institutions. Given that typical recruitment rates for similar programs
hover around 1% – 2%,31 these numbers are highly satisfactory.
Policies and Organizational Change
All institutions involved in LTPB have improved their tobacco control
policies in the past few years. Changes include: bans of smoking in
residence buildings, campus pubs, or outdoor courtyards; bans or restrictions
on the sale of tobacco on campus; and coverage of buproprion SR in
student health plans.
Adherence to CTI procedures and distribution of smoking cessation materials
have become standard practices in all campus clinics; and dozens of
LTPB student-staff team members have pursued careers in tobacco control
advocacy or research.
12. Lancaster T, Stead L, Silagy C, Sowden A. Effectiveness of interventions
to help people stop smoking: findings from the Cochrane Library. Br Med
13. Sparks RE, Green LW. Mass media in support of smoking cessation.
In National Cancer Institute, Population Based Smoking Cessation: Proceedings
of a Conference on What Works to Influence Cessation in the General Population,
Bethesda, MD: US Dept of Health and Human Services, National Institutes
of Health; 2000. NIH publication 00-4892.
28. Hennigfield JE, Michaelides T, Sussman S. Developing treatment for
tobacco addicted youth–issues and challenges J Child Adoles Sub Abuse.
29. Backinger CL, Leischow SJ. Advancing the science of adolescent tobacco
use cessation. Am J Health Behav. May-Jun 2001;25:183-190.
30. Benowitz NL, Jacob III P, Ahijevych K, Jarvis MJ, Hall S, LeHouezec
J, Hansson A, Lichtenstein E, Henningfield J, Tsoh J, Hurt RD, Velicer
W. Biochemical verification of tobacco use and cessation. Nicotine Tob
31. McDonald PW. Population-based recruitment for quit-smoking programs:
An analytic review of communication variables. Prev Med. 1999;28:545-557.