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School based curricula for preventing smoking in children and adolescents What's the evidence?

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Published on Sep 25, 2015

Health Evidence hosted a 60 minute webinar examining the effectiveness of school-based smoking prevention curricula in keeping children and adolescents never-smokers.

Dr. Roger Thomas, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, presented findings from his latest systematic reviews on school-based smoking prevention:

Thomas, R., McLellan, J., & Perera, R. (2013). School-based programmes for preventing smoking. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2013 (4) Art. No.: CD001293.

Thomas, R. E., McLellan, J., & Perera, R. (2015). Effectiveness of school-based smoking prevention curricula: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 5(3).

Evidence Summary:Thomas, R.E., McLellan, J., Perera, R., Sully, E.P. & Dobbins, M. (2015). School-based smoking prevention curricula: Evidence and implications for public health. Hamilton, ON: McMaster University.

Over the past three decades, the school environment has been a particular focus of efforts to influence youth smoking behaviour. This review examines the effectiveness of school-based smoking prevention curricula in keeping children never-smokers. 50 RCTs (74 different intervention arms, n=143 495) are included in this review. For baseline child and adolescent never-smokers, a significant effect in preventing starting smoking (12%) was found at the longest follow up. However, there was no effect of school-based smoking prevention curricula at ≤1 year except for social competence and combined social competence + social skills curricula. This webinar will highlight which curricula types are most effective, as well as the gaps in knowledge that remain with regard to smoking prevention curricula in youth.

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