The Effectiveness of Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Programs: A Focused-Analysis of the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation Programs
Sheaves, Rita Atwell
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The purpose of this research was to determine if one program funded by the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation produces a more effective result in increasing student knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco use than another program. Of particular interest is whether there is a difference in effectiveness based on the environment or settings in which these programs are presented. According to the CDC (2006), approximately 4,000 people between the ages of 12 to 17 will initiate smoking. In Virginia, a tobacco-growing state, there are 88,500 high school smokers. The health costs to Virginia are approximately 2.08 billion dollars per year with an estimated cost of 2.42 billion (Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, n.d.). By providing the VTSF an analysis of their programs, they will be better equipped at making an informed decision on which programs to support financially. The research questions that were posed are: 1) is there a difference between school-based programs, faith-based programs, and community-based programs in increasing knowledge about tobaccoâ s harmful effects? 2) is there a difference between programs in increasing knowledge and the location in which they are presented, urban versus rural?, and 3) is there a difference between programs implemented in middle schools in increasing knowledge about tobacco? From the focused analysis, the following conclusions can be drawn: 1) given the current evaluation and reporting process of the VTSF, no determination of whether there is a difference between program settings in increasing knowledge can be made, 2) in addition, no determination can be made in regards to whether there is a difference in increasing knowledge in regards to program location-urban versus rural, and 3) no conclusion can be drawn about middle school program effectiveness. What one can conclude is that the evaluation process used by the VTSF needs to be reformed so that a more consistent method is utilized by all parties so that a comparison can be made about the effectiveness of implemented programs. Also, long-term studies on programs need to be conducted since there are so few available. Studies to determine whether knowledge acquisition actually translates into behavior change also need to be performed. The key to tobacco prevention and cessation must be a multi-faceted approach. Educational programs, anti-tobacco media messages, tobacco taxation, and restriction of tobacco sales are all important in the prevention of tobacco use by the youth of Virginia. Each plays an important piece to the puzzle.
- Doctoral Dissertations