Young adult smokers are in a vulnerable position for smoking initiation and maintenance, with those of low socioeconomic status (SES) being particularly susceptible. There is little evidence to date about how to assist young adult smokers to quit effectively. Community college campuses, which have a higher enrollment of young adults with low SES, present an opportunity to target this population of smokers for cessation. This setting is especially important, with the recent federal initiative for smoke-free college campuses, for cessation efforts to complement efforts for smoke-free policies.
This pilot CARA will compare two interventions that use proactive outreach encouraging cessation with usual care. Usual care currently consists of students going to the student health center for smoking cessation assistance. The first intervention is based on a promising model of a peer educator conducting cessation counseling (known as the “Street Team”), developed by the community lead Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails (BCSET) through the Sacramento Taking Action Against Tobacco Dependence (STAND) project. The second intervention is based on direct enrollment by the "Street Team" member into the California Smokers’ Helpline, which offers free telephone counseling and has demonstrated that young adults with low SES use their service. The long-term objective of this collaboration is to establish an academic-community partnership between UC Davis, BCSET, and a community college system for future collaboration on a larger-scale intervention.
Based on the results of this pilot, we will gain important insights about adapting the “Street Team” model for community college campuses, and determine whether these interventions are promising to test in a larger-scale intervention study. Dissemination of the findings from this research will be discussed with the local community college system, four other Breathe California affiliates and their local community colleges, and others such as the University of California campuses’ Smoke-free Campus Committees. The potential impact of the “Street Team” model will be to develop an effective model for targeting young adult smokers with low SES, and complement current efforts toward improving tobacco-free campus policies.