There have been a number of tobacco prevention programs developed and tested in the past few
years, and some of the comprehensive programs have been promoted by the Office on Smoking
and Health at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, the use of these programs and
integration into school-based curriculum has been lacking due to a number of factors. We
are proposing to develop an interactive computer-based program for tobacco prevention aimed
at middle school students. The CD-ROM is designed to be an adjunct to the existing health
education curriculum provided for 6th through 8th grade students.
The CD-ROM is based upon our Phase I prototype program entitled Tobacco World in which
students are presented with a video arcade interface that offers them random access to
several game-like activities in which they learn about tobacco and the negative health
effects associated with tobacco use. We will expand the menu of options to include more
complex activities and entertaining games.
The Phase II program will deliver engaging media to educate students about the risks of
tobacco and peer and industry influences on their decisions regarding tobacco. Games and
activities will be designed to act on mechanisms shown to be effective in decreasing
intentions to use tobacco through changing attitudes, social images, beliefs about short and
long term physical consequences, perceptions of peers' social images, subjective norms, and
perceived behavioral control. We will test individual components of the program with middle
school students for effectiveness in changing mediating variables related to initiation and
use of tobacco.
The final program will be evaluated in a randomized trial where middle schools in Oregon and
New York will be assigned to either an established tobacco prevention curriculum, or to the
usual tobacco curriculum plus the Tobacco World program. Students will be assessed at pre-,
post- and 6-month follow-up to evaluate the impact of program use on intentions, and actual
- Middle school students in 6th or 7th or 8th grade in Oregon and New York City whose
parents have consented to have their child participate;
- Middle school health education teachers in Oregon and New York City
- Students unable to understand English.