Therapy for Specific Problems: Youth Tobacco Cessation

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Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the United States. The majority of children smoke their first cigarette in early adolescence, and many older teens have well-established dependence on nicotine. Efforts to promote and support smoking cessation among these youth smokers are critical. The available experimental studies of youth cessation interventions find that behavioral interventions increase the chances of youth smokers achieving successful cessation. Currently there is insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of pharmacological treatments with youth smokers. Many innovative studies have been compromised by challenges in recruiting sufficient numbers of youth, obtaining approval for waivers of parental consent, and high attrition in longitudinal studies. Key areas for future work include bridging the fields of adolescent development and treatment design, matching treatments to developmental trajectories of smoking behavior, better understanding treatment processes and treatment moderators, and building demand for evidence-based cessation treatments.

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