Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a short-term tobacco-focused intervention for high school students referred by school administrators because of tobacco use.
Method: A sample of 56 adolescents (66% male, mean age 15 years) was recruited through referrals from three state high schools. Participants were randomly assigned to a one-hour motivational interview (MI) session or to standard care (advice/education). The two groups were followed up at one, three, and six-month intervals.
Results: The MI intervention resulted in significant short-term reductions in quantity and frequency of smoking relative to standard care, however, effects were not maintained at 3- and 6-month follow-up. Improvements in refusal self-efficacy were significant relative to standard care.
Conclusion: For adolescents who are established smokers and at high risk of other problems, motivational interviewing was associated with modest short-term gains relative to standard care.