School Nurses Can Help Some Teen Boys Quit Smoking in the Short Term

School nurses can help some teens—especially boys—quit smoking through counseling, but the results tend to be short-lived, a new study suggests.

The study of 1,000 teens who wanted to quit smoking found almost 11 percent of those who were counseled by their school nurse for three months were able to quit, compared with six percent who received educational brochures.

After three months, boys who received counseling were three times more likely to say they had stopped smoking than the boys who received pamphlets—15 percent versus 5 percent. Among girls, there was no difference in quit rates between the counseling and pamphlet groups after three months—7 percent of both groups stopped smoking.

Both groups of students saw their school nurse at four weekly sessions that ranged from 10 to 30 minutes. The teens who received counseling talked with nurses about goal setting and problem solving, and discussed making plans to quit smoking and how to prevent relapses.

Among both boys and girls, one year after participating in the sessions, there was no difference in smoking rates between those who received counseling and those who received pamphlets, Reuters reports. After one year, between 13 and 17 percent of both boys and girls said they had stopped smoking, regardless of whether they received counseling or pamphlets. The results are published in the journal Pediatrics.

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