Opportunities for youth smoking cessation: findings from a national focus group study

Nicotine Tob Res. 2004 Feb;6(1):9-17. doi: 10.1080/1462200310001650812.


To identify opportunities for smoking cessation among adolescents, we conducted six computer-assisted telephone focus groups with 48 male and female high school student smokers and former smokers from six states across the United States, all aged 15-17 years, in two groups each of "established smokers," "late experimenters," and "quitters." These adolescents considered addiction to cigarettes real, powerful, stealthy, insidious, harmful, and avoidable. They considered quitting smoking achievable and desirable. Many of the established smokers and some experimenters would not consider quitting until an indefinite future, when they expected adult responsibilities to help them quit. Quitters had been encouraged by friends who did not smoke around them or offer them cigarettes; they also associated more with nonsmoking friends. Some adolescents, especially quitters, reported that parents had tried to help them quit; some smokers reported that parents had provided them with cigarettes. Some adolescents reported school rules and enforcement that made it hard to smoke; others reported school rules and enforcement that made it easy and tempting to smoke. These adolescents were not aware of the availability of professional help or interested in it. Many did not consider smoking urgent or "intense" enough for professional help. Perceptions of cessation programs were nonexistent or negative. Participants were aware of nicotine replacement therapies but less so of prescription medications. These findings suggest that it is critical to educate adolescents about what good cessation programming is and is not, why it is needed, how it might help, and where it is offered.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Environment
  • United States / epidemiology