Current cigarette smoking prevalence among young adults (ages 18-29) in California is disproportionately higher than the California average at 13.4% vs. 10.1%. Young adults who frequent bars and clubs often smoke at much higher rates. The tobacco industry targets the young adult population with promotions and events held in bars and clubs. Reaching these high risk young adults is important, as quitting before age 30 is associated with decreased risk of developing the long term health effects from smoking. Current research indicates that young adults are less likely to use effective smoking cessation treatments and are often unsuccessful at quitting. The proposed research study addresses the TRDRP’s priority to reduce tobacco use in California’s disproportionately impacted populations by delivering and evaluating a smoking cessation intervention to young adults with very high current smoking rates. Specifically, this study investigates the effects of a smoking cessation intervention for young adult smokers in bars and clubs.
A longitudinal, controlled, experimental design is employed to determine the effects of the smoking cessation intervention. Participants are young adult smokers, aged 21-30, who are opinion leaders in their community and frequent bars and clubs popular with their community. The cessation intervention will be implemented with groups of 15 young adults each in the bar/club setting in two communities, San Diego and Oklahoma City (n=90). The intervention consists of 10 consecutive, weekly group meetings led by a facilitator who is a social leader in the bar-going young adult community. Meetings include participants’ reports of smoking and quitting behavior, quit-smoking advice from a trained cessation counselor, and access to no-cost nicotine replacement therapy (e.g., nicotine gum). Participants who received the intervention will be compared to young adult participants with similar social and demographic characteristics (n=90) in two comparison communities. Control group participants will be given only a referral to a smoking cessation quitline and will not receive the cessation intervention. All participants (N=180) will be surveyed when they are recruited, 10 weeks later, and 22 weeks later. In the intervention cities, interviews will also be conducted with the intervention facilitator, the smoking cessation counselor and participants post-implementation. Analyses will be conducted to determine the effect of the intervention on smoking behavior and motivations to quit smoking and to compare differences in smoking and cessation behavior between intervention participants and participants in the matched control communities. Post-intervention interview data will also be collected and analyzed to further evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the cessation intervention in both intervention communities.
The cessation intervention has been piloted in San Diego and was found to be feasible to implement, acceptable to participants and encouraged cessation. Providing engaging, accessible smoking cessation assistance to young adult opinion leaders in contexts where smoking takes place may be an important strategy to address the increased smoking rates among bar-going young adults and the devastating impact of tobacco-related disease in California.