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Cluster Randomized Trial of Teens Against Tobacco Use: Youth Empowerment for Tobacco Control in El Paso, Texas

1/11/2019 - American journal of preventive medicine

INTRODUCTION: This study examines smoke-free youth partnerships implementing the Teens Against Tobacco Use model developed by the American Lung Association. This innovative tobacco prevention strategy has not been evaluated rigorously. Students used peer teaching to educate youth about tobacco use and engaged in tobacco control advocacy activities. Participating high school and middle school youth were trained to develop and deliver tobacco prevention presentations to 4th-8th grade students in schools. STUDY DESIGN: To evaluate the efficacy of the presentations, matched pairs of classrooms willing to have 1 presentation were randomly assigned to receive either the presentation first (intervention condition) or later in the school year (control condition). SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: The study took place in a predominantly low-income Hispanic community. A total of 9 schools, 107 classes, and 2,257 students participated in the evaluation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Tobacco susceptibility was assessed with a brief survey administered to students in both intervention and control classrooms in 2014 and 2015 after the completion of presentations in intervention classrooms. Analyses completed in 2019 compared intervention and control classrooms on tobacco susceptibility. RESULTS: Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that classrooms receiving a tobacco prevention presentation had significantly lower tobacco susceptibility scores than classrooms that did not receive a presentation (12% vs 17%, p<0.01), representing a 37% reduction in the odds of tobacco susceptibility. Teens Against Tobacco Use presenters also completed tobacco retailer compliance checks and gained media coverage in advocating to regulate e-cigarettes in the same manner as other tobacco products. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest Teens Against Tobacco Use is an effective means of reducing tobacco susceptibility among 4th-8th graders in the immediate term. Longer-term outcome evaluations are needed to determine whether Teens Against Tobacco Use presentations can have a lasting impact on tobacco use. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study is registered at NCT02443025.
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