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Longitudinal impact of a youth tobacco education program

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2296-3-3

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Abstract:

Twenty-eight schools, which were in relatively close geographic proximity, were randomized into three groups; Group 1 was used to assess whether attitudes/knowledge were changed in the hypothesized direction by the intervention, and if those changes were retained four months later. Groups 2 and 3, were used as comparison groups to assess possible test-retest bias and historical effects. Groups 1 and 3 were pooled to assess whether attitudes/knowledge were changed by the intervention as measured by an immediate post-test. The non-parametric analytical techniques of Wilcoxon-Matched Pairs/Sign Ranks and the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon Rank Sums Tests were used to compare proportions of correct responses at each of the schools.Pooled analyses showed that short-term retention on most items was achieved. It was also found that retention on two knowledge items 'recognition that smokers have yellow teeth and fingers' and 'smoking one pack of cigarettes a day costs several hundred dollars per year' was maintained for four months.The findings suggest that inexpensive, one-time interventions for tobacco-use prevention can be of value. Changes in attitudes and knowledge conducive to the goal of tobacco-use prevention can be achieved for short-term retention and some relevant knowledge items can be retained for several months.Given the epidemiology of smoking initiation, a great deal of public health policy and programmatic attention has been directed at youth smoking in the United States [1]. Approximately 80% of tobacco users initiate use before 18 years of age, and if this trend in early initiation of cigarette smoking continues, estimates are that 5 million children aged less than 18 years who are alive today will die prematurely as adults [2].In an effort to discourage initiation of tobacco use, several youth tobacco education programs have been created and are currently available for presentation to elementary school students. Many of these approaches are school-based programs,

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