U.S. government dedicates web site to teen smoking-cessation program created at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The most widely used and widely researched teen smoking-cessation program in the nation – developed at West Virginia University by Kimberly Horn, Ed.D., and Geri Dino, Ph.D. – will receive a big blast of publicity in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23.

The Prevention Research Centers Program office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Directors of Health Promotion and Education are launching a web site for Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) to ensure that more communities, schools and teen-agers learn about the program, which has been credited with helping thousands of young people quit the health-compromising addiction.

Dino is director of the West Virginia Prevention Research Center at WVU. Horn is director of the Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program (T2R2), a joint effort of WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and the Prevention Research Center.

The WVU researchers worked with the American Lung Association to develop N-O-T. Research at WVU and elsewhere has shown that N-O-T significantly decreases smoking and increases smoking-cessation among teenagers. It has been proven sustainable and useful in multiple settings.

N-O-T helps teens quit smoking or reduce cigarette use. The program helps teens learn and understand why they smoke and helps them develop the skills, confidence and support they need to quit. Teens learn the skills they need to tackle tough problems like nicotine withdrawal, getting through urges and cravings and responding to peer pressure to continue smoking.  The self-esteem boosting 10 weekly sessions are led by a facilitator who can be a teacher, counselor, school nurse or other trained staff.

NOT is packaged and disseminated to schools and community organizations by the American Lung Association.  The ALA lacks the resources to reach all settings in which the intervention could be put to use. The project team used web site development “best practices” to create a site that would expand the ALA’s capacity to disseminate N-O-T to any group or organization that wants to use it.

In reaching tens of thousands of teen-agers across America, the N-O-T program also has provided much fodder for academic research at WVU. Faculty members have collaborated from various disciplines including the departments of Psychology, Community Medicine and Pharmaceutical Systems & Policy. They have published more than 100 research papers on all aspects of tobacco use.

The American Lung Association, in adopting N-O-T, has promoted its use in all 50 states and also internationally by the U.S. military.

“We are so proud of our faculty who developed this program and then continued to build their research findings into strategies that help young people succeed at overcoming their nicotine addictions,” said Fred Butcher, Ph.D., interim vice president of Health Sciences.

Butcher is scheduled to speak at the CDC event unveiling the new web site. “The federal government’s creation and sponsorship of a web site signals not only that this program works, but also that it provides a much-needed lifeline to young people,” he said.

In July the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services placed N-O-T on a list of recommended programs dealing with tobacco and drug abuse.  N-O-T became the 100th program to be added to the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

The new web site is designed to serve functions of marketing, dissemination and technical assistance related to N-O-T. The launch – which will include speakers, demonstration stations, refreshments and music – will take place during the 20th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control. A reception is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The project team plans to test the site and develop a dissemination plan. If this web-based outreach is successful, the concept could become a prototype for conveying information about other chronic disease prevention programs developed by Prevention Research Centers.

For information on the CDC’s Prevention Research Centers see http://www.cdc.gov/prc/.

For information on the West Virginia Prevention Research Center see http://prc.hsc.wvu.edu/.

For information on the Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program (T2R2) at WVU see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/t2r2/.



For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ab: 2-11-09

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