Cancer Causes & Control

, 18:783 | Cite as

Youth smokers’ beliefs about different cessation approaches: are we providing cessation interventions they never intend to use?

  • Scott T. Leatherdale
  • Paul W. McDonald
Original Research



Most youth smokers intend to quit, but the majority is neither aware nor interested in most conventional cessation approaches. As such, a critical first step in understanding youth cessation is to better understand the beliefs youth have about different cessation options.


This cross-sectional study used self-reported data collected from 26,379 grade 9 to 12 students in Ontario, Canada. We examined both the attitudes of youth smokers toward common smoking cessation approaches and factors associated with intentions to join a school-based cessation program.


The majority of youth smokers intend to quit smoking but tend to have negative attitudes toward most formal smoking cessation approaches; Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) was an exception. Among occasional smokers, self-identification as a smoker and being physically active were positively associated with intending to join a school-based cessation program. Having tried to quit smoking at least once in the past year more than doubled the likelihood of being interested in a school-based program among both occasional and daily smokers.


Findings have the potential for informing the development of more effective campaigns for engaging adolescent smokers into smoking cessation treatment. Results also reinforce the need for programmatic innovation within and beyond school settings.


Adolescence Smoking Cessation Nicotine replacement therapy/NRT School-based Physical activity 



The data used in this analysis were drawn from the SHAPES-Ontario project, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care/Ministry of Health Promotion and by Cancer Care Ontario (grant awarded to S. Leatherdale and S. Manske). The project was conducted by the Population Health Research Group at the University of Waterloo, with in-kind contributions from participating Public Health units. The concept for the SHAPES data collection and feedback system was developed by the National Cancer Institute of Canada/Canadian Cancer Society’s Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation. The authors would also like to thank Ms. Suzy Wong for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Preventive OncologyCancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  4. 4.Population Health Research GroupUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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