Using the internet to assist smoking prevention and cessation in schools: a randomized, controlled trial

Health Psychol. 2008 Nov;27(6):799-810. doi: 10.1037/a0013105.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of a classroom-based, Web-assisted tobacco intervention addressing smoking prevention and cessation with adolescents.

Design: A two-group randomized control trial with 1,402 male and female students in grades 9 through 11 from 14 secondary schools in Toronto, Canada. Participants were randomly assigned to a tailored Web-assisted tobacco intervention or an interactive control condition task conducted during a single classroom session with e-mail follow-up. The cornerstone of the intervention was a five-stage interactive Web site called the Smoking Zine ( integrated into a program that included a paper-based journal, a small group form of motivational interviewing, and tailored e-mails.

Main outcome measure: Resistance to smoking, behavioral intentions to smoke, and cigarette use were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and three- and six-month follow-up. Multilevel logistic growth modeling was used to assess the effect of the intervention on change over time.

Results: The integrated Smoking Zine program helped smokers significantly reduce the likelihood of having high intentions to smoke and increased their likelihood of high resistance to continued cigarette use at 6 months. The intervention also significantly reduced the likelihood of heavy cigarette use adoption by nonsmokers during the study period.

Conclusion: The Smoking Zine intervention provided cessation motivation for smokers most resistant to quitting at baseline and prevented nonsmoking adolescents from becoming heavy smokers at 6 months. By providing an accessible and attractive method of engaging young people in smoking prevention and cessation, this interactive and integrated program provides a novel vehicle for school- and population-level health promotion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Program Development
  • School Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schools*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking Prevention*