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Helping Young Smokers Quit:
Identifying Best Practices for Tobacco Cessation
The Helping Young Smokers Quit (HYSQ) initiative was a multi-phase project designed to address the critical need to disseminate effective, developmentally appropriate cessation programs for adolescent smokers. When the initiative began in 2001, a growing number of teen cessation programs were becoming available, yet little was known about: how many programs existed, where they were located, what services they offered, what populations they served, or how they provided treatment. Moreover, only a handful of such programs had been evaluated.
The HYSQ initiative had two primary aims:
Identify and describe tobacco treatment programs available to youth across the United States, and
Evaluate smoking cessation programs that are tailored for youth to help understand what works.
Phase I addressed the first aim through a national survey of existing adolescent tobacco cessation programs, and in Phase II, longitudinal program evaluations were designed in response to the overarching question: "what program component, process, and contextual factors are associated with increased recruitment, retention and quit rates?" Phase III answered the question, "how many of the programs that were found in Phase I are operating three years later?" and further explored characteristics associated with program sustainability and discontinuation.
The HYSQ initiative worked to fill a gap in knowledge about the numbers and distribution of youth cessation programs, as well as the types of treatment approaches and program components that were offered across the U.S., between 2001 and 2008. It aimed to identify effective program models and promising directions for future research. The researchers intended their findings to help states, communities, schools and other community-based and youth-serving organizations adopt and implement programs that work, and provide standards and tools for continuing program evaluations.
Helping Young Smokers Quit: Identifying Best Practices for Tobacco Cessation was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Program directed by Susan J. Curry, PhD and Robin J. Mermelstein, PhD at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The program was co-funded by the National Cancer Institute-Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Tobacco Control Branch, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Office on Smoking and Health.
The HYSQ initiative was a major effort working toward meeting the goals of the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative, as presented in the National Blueprint for Action: Youth and Young Adult Tobacco-Use Cessation.