Smoking prevention in children and adolescents: A systematic review of individualized interventions

Patient Educ Couns. 2018 Mar;101(3):375-388. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.09.011. Epub 2017 Sep 21.


Objective: This study systematically reviewed the literature to determine what type of cognitive-behavioral based interventions administered outside of formal school settings effectively prevent smoking initiation among children and adolescents.

Methods: Applying the PRISMA guidelines we searched MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINHAL, Pub Med, SCOPUS, and Sport Discus. Article review, data extraction, and assessment of risk of bias were conducted by two independent reviewers.

Results: We included 16 studies administered in various settings: seven in health care; four informally during and outside of school hours; three in the home; and two in extra-curricular settings. Positive preventive effects in smoking behavior ranging from 3-months to 4-years were observed in eight studies. Social environmental influences (e.g., parental smoking, friends) are salient contributing factors.

Conclusions: Effective approaches involved interventions conducted in health care settings as well as those employing interpersonal communication and support strategies (e.g., via peer leaders, parent support, physicians).

Practice implications: Primary health care settings may be optimal for implementing cigarette smoking prevention interventions for children and adolescents. Providing tailored education and facilitating interpersonal discussions between health care providers and families about the risks of smoking/strategies to avoid uptake, as well as capitalizing on technology-based modalities may reduce rates among children and adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents; Attitudes; Intentions; Interventions; Prevention; Smoking; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking Prevention / methods*