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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nicotine Dependence as a Mediator of Project EX's Effects to Reduce Tobacco Use in Scholars.

  • Author(s): Gonzálvez, María T;
  • Espada, José P;
  • Orgilés, Mireia;
  • Morales, Alexandra;
  • Sussman, Steve
  • et al.

In Spain, 44% of 14-18-year-olds have smoked, and 12.5% have smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances, and can lead to serious addiction in adulthood with adverse consequences to one's health. School plays a relevant role in health promotion and preventing risk behaviors such as tobacco consumption. Despite the fact that some school-based tobacco cessation and prevention interventions prove to be effective for their purposes, there is a lack of understanding as to why these programs succeed or fail. This longitudinal study aims to test the nicotine dependence (ND) as a mediator of Project EX's effect - a tobacco-use cessation program developed for high school youth to reduce tobacco consumption in scholars. Six high schools located in the Mediterranean coast were randomized for the participation of the program (Spanish version of Project EX) or a waiting-list group with baseline, immediate-posttest, and 12-month follow-up assessments. At baseline, 1,546 adolescents aged 14-21 years old (mean age: 15.28; SD = 1.20; 46% were women) were evaluated by self-administered tests on tobacco consumption and ND. A biomarker of smoke inhalation - a measurement of exhaled carbon monoxide (ECM) - was used. Participants who were smokers (N = 501; 32%) were selected for this study. Mediation analyses were conducted using the PROCESS v2.12 macro for Windows. The significant criterion was p ≤ 0.05, and 5,000 samples were used for bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals. Results indicated that Project EX indirectly decreased the number of cigarettes smoked in the last month, the number of cigarettes smoked within the last 7 days, the number of daily cigarettes, and ECM level at 12-month follow up through decreasing the level of ND in the short-term. This is the first Spanish study that explores ND as a mediator of the long-term efficacy of Project EX to reduce tobacco consumption in adolescents. Results suggest that interventions that reduce ND at short-term are more likely to be successful to decrease tobacco use at long-term.

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