A cigarette hanging from a teenager's mouth is a sight that makes most adults cringe. With 22% of high school students and 10% of middle school children smoking in America, the habit is considered an epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, a recent article in Pediatric Nursing journal shows that there are effective quitting programs available that offer hope.

Deborah J. Fritz and her co-authors report in the January-February 2008 issue that the Computerized Adolescent Smoking Cessation Program (CASCP) is effective in getting teenagers to quit, inexpensive, and easily implemented in schools.

Fritz studied 128 teenagers, 14-19 years old, divided in half for control and experimental groups. The experimental group completed four CASCP computer sessions as well as questionnaires and post-intervention testing. Not only did the experimental group report more quit attempts than the control group subjects, who did not participate in the computer sessions, but 23% of the teens actually quit smoking.

The encouraging results show the CASCP program does work and that such programs should be implemented in schools whenever possible, says Fritz. Nurses play a key role in recruiting adolescents into smoking cessation programs and/or referring them to agencies such as the American Lung Association for help. School nurses should also advocate for implementing programs like CASCP and for incorporating smoking cessation into health classes.

"A Computerized Smoking Cessation Intervention for High School Smokers"
Deborah J. Fritz, PhD, FNP, RN, et al
Pediatric Nursing January-February 2008.

Pediatric Nursing is a clinically-based journal focusing on the needs of professionals in pediatric practice, research, administration and education. www.pediatricnursing

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