Does Effectiveness of Adolescent Smoking-Cessation Intervention Endure Into Young Adulthood? 7-Year Follow-Up Results from a Group-Randomized Trial.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PloS one, Volume 11, Issue 2, p.e0146459 (2016)


BACKGROUND: The Hutchinson Study of High School Smoking was the first randomized trial to show effectiveness of a smoking cessation intervention on 6-months prolonged smoking abstinence at one year post-intervention in a large population-based sample of adolescent smokers. An important question remains: Do the positive effects from teen smoking cessation interventions seen at up to 12 months post-intervention endure into young adulthood? This study examines for the first time whether such positive early effects from teen smoking cessation intervention can endure into young adulthood in the absence of additional intervention.

METHODS: High school smokers (n = 2,151) were proactively recruited into the trial from fifty randomly selected Washington State high schools randomized to the experimental (Motivational Interviewing + Cognitive Behavioral Skills Training telephone counseling intervention) or control (no intervention) condition. These smokers were followed to 7 years post high school to ascertain rates of six-year prolonged smoking abstinence in young adulthood. All statistical tests are two-sided.

RESULTS: No evidence of intervention impact at seven years post high school was observed for the main endpoint of six-year prolonged abstinence, neither among all smokers (14.2% in the experimental condition vs. 13.1% in the control condition, difference = +1.1%, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -3.4 to 5.8, p = .61), nor among the subgroups of daily smokers and less-than-daily smokers, nor among other a priori subgroups. But, observed among males was some evidence of an intervention impact on two endpoints related to progress towards quitting: reduction in number of days smoked in the past month, and increase in the length of the longest quit attempt in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence from this trial among adolescent smokers that positive effectiveness of the proactive telephone intervention for smoking abstinence, observed previously at one year post-intervention, was sustained for the long-term into young adulthood. In light of the positive short-term effectiveness consistently observed from this and other trials for teen smokers, together with the lack of evidence from this study that such short-term impact can endure into young adulthood, sustained interventions that continue into young adulthood should be developed and tested for long-term impact.