Innovative Interventions Show Promise for Adolescent and Adult Smokers
The HCC tobacco control group continues to be at the forefront of treatment outcome research among both adolescents and adults. The vast majority of smokers initiate smoking during adolescence, creating a national imperative to develop effective prevention and cessation strategies to arrest the onset and development of nicotine addiction.
The work of Drs. Kevin M. Gray and Matthew J. Carpenter specifically tests the translation of adult treatments to adolescent smokers. Dr. Carpenter was recruited to the HCC after completing a post-doctoral fellowship, and both Drs. Gray and Carpenter have received pilot funding to produce the initial data on smoking in teens which has led to multiple NIH-funded studies. These researchers successfully conducted the first randomized controlled trial that compared the combined versus separate effects of sustained-release bupropion and contingency management, demonstrating superiority of combined pharmacologic and behavioral intervention. They also were among the first to test what is likely the most efficacious treatment for adult smokers, varenicline, in the adolescent population. This latter work led to the largest test trial of varenicline for adolescent smoking cessation funded by the NIH.
Drs. Carpenter, Gray, and Anthony J. Alberg have also conducted the first randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effects of practice quit attempts (PQA) alone vs. PQA plus nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) sampling (PQA+NRT) in smokers who are not motivated to quit. Overall, NRT sampling was associated with a significantly higher incidence of smokers making quit attempts and higher rates of abstinence. Uptake of evidence-based treatment was higher among those receiving samples of NRT, suggesting that this simple intervention of giving free samples, versus intensive behavioral interventions, is a viable approach to engage more smokers in the quitting process. This study, like those described above, demonstrates specific, highly innovative, well-conceived interventions that can ultimately impact rates of tobacco use, thereby reducing a major cancer risk factor in SC and the nation.
Clin Trials, 2010. PMC2902976