Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Cessation Program for Adolescent Smokers

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The present study reports on the development and evaluation of a contingency-based smoking cessation program for adolescents who smoke regularly. A within-subject design with multiple baseline and changing criterion elements was employed with 11 “hard-core” adolescent smokers aged 13–18. Monetary rewards were based on achieving target carbon monoxide (CO) levels in expired air breath samples. Five of the 6 male subjects successfully reduced their smoking and CO levels during a gradual-reduction phase and quit smoking. One of these subjects resumed low-level daily smoking, and the other 4 have generally maintained abstinence during a 5-month maintenance/fading and follow-up phase. In contrast, all 5 of the female subjects dropped out at some point during the program. These preliminary data suggest that a number of adolescent smokers may be responsive to a CO contingency program. Directions for future research and possible reasons for the apparent sex differences in treatment outcome are discussed.

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