A randomised controlled trial of a school-based intervention to prevent tobacco use among children and adolescents in Italy
To test the effectiveness of a psychosocial strategy of smoking deterence on seventh grade students, the School Health Education Development project implemented peer-led, teacher-led, and expert-led interventions in six Vermont schools. Four additional schools served as control groups. The teacher-led approach reduced the rate of smoking onset and the intention to smoke in the future among highly vulnerable females but not among males. The peer-led approach reduced the behavioral intention to smoke for both sexes but did not affect current smoking behavior. The expert-led approach did not produce favorable effects. Both the peer-led and teacher-led interventions had positive, though not significant, effects on student perception of locus of control. In the control schools, females experienced higher levels of smoking onset than males. Generally, the study points toward further development of a teacher-led approach to smoking deterence based on the theory of adolescent psychosocial development and the principle of continuous reinforcement.