Tobacco use among Appalachian adolescents: An urgent need for virtual scale out of effective interventions
Tobacco use, typically initiated during adolescence, can escalate into young adulthood, even among experimenting or intermittent users. Despite declines in cigarette smoking among US adolescents, use of other tobacco products and poly-tobacco are on the rise among Appalachian adolescents. Unfortunately, Appalachian adolescent tobacco users also are less likely to receive effective tobacco interventions due to various barriers: a) accessibility (e.g. service and provider shortages, affordability, and transportation; b) acceptability (e.g. issues of privacy and stigma); and c) cultural relevance. The present review provides critical considerations synthesized from an extensive body of literature on the suitability of virtual tobacco interventions, the need for well-timed interventions that address complex tobacco use, and the rationale for leveraging and scaling evidence-based interventions inform novel interventions for Appalachian adolescent tobacco users. Borrowing strength from existing in-person evidence-based adolescent tobacco interventions and state-of-the-art virtual health services, a well-planned virtual scale out of tobacco interventions holds potential to minimize barriers unique to Appalachia.