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Informing Smoking Interventions for CA University Students

Institution: Veterans Medical Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Mark Myers, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2009 (Cycle 18) Grant #: 18XT-0070 Award: $352,060
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Exploratory/Developmental Award

Initial Award Abstract
Recent studies show that many college students smoke cigarettes. The college years form a transition from adolescence to adulthood, and represent a period during which tobacco use and other health behaviors are still being learned. As such, college students engage in considerable experimentation with smoking and other health risk behaviors. Despite this evidence, relatively few studies have investigated college student cigarette smoking and surprisingly few studies have addressed smoking cessation in this population. As such, cigarette smoking prevention and treatment efforts aimed at college students may yield considerable benefits in reducing the health burden of tobacco addiction.

To address this issue, the long-term objectives of this line of research are: 1) to provide information to aid the design of effective programs to help college students quit smoking; and 2) to design and evaluate the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions for college students.

Few previous studies have examined smoking cessation among college students. To address this gap in knowledge and build upon previous work by our research group, this study will investigate 400 college student smokers to identify key influences on quitting smoking.

The primary aims of the proposed study are to 1) Identify factors that predict which college students will attempt to quit smoking 2) Identify factors that predict how long students remain abstinent after attempting to quit smoking, and 3) Investigate how alcohol use influences college student efforts to quit smoking.

The proposed study will recruit and follow 400 18-24 year old undergraduate college students who smoke. Over the course of six months of participation, each student will complete three in-person interviews (baseline, 3- and 6-months), fill-in 18 weekly online calendars to record cigarette and alcohol use, and respond to four monthly online surveys that evaluate attempts to quit smoking (months 1, 2, 4 and 5). Information gathered during the proposed study will be used to design treatments to help college students quit smoking.