Smoking prevention in school students: positive effects of a hospital-based intervention

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012 Nov;109(44):746-52. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2012.0746. Epub 2012 Nov 2.


Background: Adolescents have smoked less in recent years, but 11.7% of 12-to-17-year-olds were still smokers in 2011. The prevalence of smoking has also remained high among 18-to-25-year-olds (36.8%). An intervention program called "Students in the Hospital" was developed in which the health aspects of smoking and its individual and societal consequences were presented in an interactive informational event. In this study, we determine the efficacy of the program.

Methods: From September 2007 to July 2008, we performed an anonymous survey by questionnaire, with a quasi-experimental control-group design, two weeks before (t(1)) and six months after (t(2)) the intervention in a group of 760 participating school students in Berlin.

Results: 40.8% of the participants were smokers, among whom 79% stated that they smoked water pipe. Significantly fewer students in the intervention group than in the control group began smoking in the six months after the intervention (p<0.001). The chance of remaining a non-smoker was four times as high in the intervention group (OR, 4.14; CI, 1.66-10.36). Girls benefited from the intervention more than boys (OR 2.56, CI 1.06-6.19). 16.1% of smokers in the intervention group and 17.6% in the control group gave up smoking (p>0.05).

Conclusion: A clear primary preventive effect of the program was demonstrated, although it apparently did not induce persons who were already smokers to quit.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Education Department, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*