From 1992 to 1995, researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver, evaluated Stop Teenage Addiction to Tobacco (STAT), a nationwide volunteer effort to reduce underage smoking.
In July 1991, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded STAT a three-year grant to conduct the Four Community Project, a community-based initiative to curtail underage smoking through reducing both tobacco supply and demand.
The Foundation wanted the evaluation to provide a neutral description of project implementation and results and to extract lessons for the RWJF, community leaders, and policy makers on how to mobilize communities toward the goal.
The project's departure from traditional approaches to smoking cessation set it apart and made the evaluation necessary.
The evaluation's key findings include:
- STAT's shift away from the traditional one-to-one approach to underage smoking prevention was effective and meaningful.
- Large funding organizations, such as RWJF, can effectively unite with small, grassroots efforts, such as STAT, for health promotion projects.
- Communities striving to initiate internal change must adapt quickly to their own changing environments.
- Youths' motivation and ability to educate others make their involvement essential.