Assessing the effectiveness of a tobacco use prevention programme based on the school curriculum
Smoking is considered a paediatric epidemic, calling for an early preventive action through the implementation of school-based programmes. This study aimed to evaluate the short-term effectiveness of a prevention school-based programme, based on the school curriculum -Smokeout II-, in school-aged adolescents attending the 3rd cycle of basic education in schools of Braga municipality, by sex. A quasi-experimental study of the pre and post-test type with an experimental (n=159) and a control group (n=171) was held in 2014/2015. The main results showed that, from the pretest to the post-test, significant changes were observed in the control group among boys and girls: an increase in the smoking prevalence was registered among those who had never tried smoking in the pretest; among those who did not smoke or had stopped smoking in the pretest, an increase in the regular smoking was observed. A decrease between the pre and the post-test was found in the prevalence of regular smoking among boys of the experimental group, while the opposite happened in the control group, with an increase in smoking prevalence. Among girls, an increase in the regular tobacco use was observed in both groups. This smoking prevention programme has shown some effectiveness in the short-term decrease of the prevalence of students trying to smoke, both in boys and girls, and in reducing the prevalence of smoking among boys. In order to investigate if these results are kept in time, a follow-up evaluation is ongoing to assess the long-term effectiveness of the programme.
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