[Primary and secondary prevention of smoking in adolescents: results of the campaign "Be Smart - Don't Start"]

Gesundheitswesen. 2002 Aug-Sep;64(8-9):492-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2002-33777.
[Article in German]


Background: This paper examines the effectiveness of the "Smokefree Class Competition" with regard to primary and secondary prevention of smoking in adolescents. Each participating class has to decide if they want to be a "Smokefree Class" for the six-month period from fall to spring. Classes monitor their (non-)smoking behaviour and report it to the teacher regularly. Classes in which pupils refrain from smoking for this period of time participate in a prize draw, where they can win a number of attractive prizes.

Methods: A control group study with repeated measurements was carried out in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the competition. The sample consisted of 131 participating and non-participating classes ( N of the pupils = 2,142; mean age 12.9 years, SD = 0.98). Smoking status was assessed on two occasions: (a) prior to the beginning of the competition, and (b) 6 month after the end of the competition.

Results: With regard to the smoking status at baseline no differences could be found between the experimental and the control group (15.2 % vs. 18.5 % smoking pupils). In the follow-up measurement, pupils in the control group showed significantly higher prevalences of smoking than the experimental group in the post-measurement period (32.9 % vs. 25.5 % smoking pupils). More pupils in the experimental group stayed smokefree compared to the control group. No differential effects on smoking cessation could be found.

Conclusions: The results show that participation in the competition could delay the onset of smoking in adolescents (primary prevention). The competition is not effective in smoking cessation in youth.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Peer Group
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention*