Therapy for Specific Problems

Youth Tobacco Cessation

This article examines the body of research around smoking-cessation therapy for young smokers. It presents information about youth smokers, examines strengths and weaknesses of youth tobacco cessation interventions, and discusses how the field of youth smoking cessation research could develop in the future.

The authors compiled evidence from published research about youth smoking and smoking cessation.

Key Findings:

  • More than 20 percent of high school seniors in the United States were current smokers in 2007. The majority of young smokers want to quit but rarely make use of cessation treatment.
  • Behavior interventions, motivational enhancement, and cognitive behavioral therapy increase the likelihood that youth smokers are able to successfully quit. Nicotine-replacement aids have not been shown to help youth smokers quit.
  • The research base for youth smoking cessation is modest. Research has been hampered by the challenges of conducting research with minors, including insufficient sample sizes, problems attaining parental permission, and attrition in data collection.

The field of youth tobacco cessation will be strengthened with research that bridges adolescent development and treatment design research, coordinates treatment to development patterns, and builds demand for evidence-based cessation treatments.