Background: Interventions to prevent smoking uptake or encourage cessation among young persons might help prevent tobacco-related illness.
Purpose: To review the evidence for the efficacy and harms of primary care–relevant interventions that aim to reduce tobacco use among children and adolescents.
Data Sources: Three systematic reviews that collectively covered the relevant literature; MEDLINE, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects through 14 September 2012; and manual searches of reference lists and gray literature.
Study Selection: Two investigators independently reviewed 2453 abstracts and 111 full-text articles. English-language trials of behavior-based or medication interventions that were relevant to primary care and reported tobacco use, health outcomes, or harms were included.
Data Extraction: One investigator abstracted data from good- and fair-quality trials into an evidence table, and a second checked these data.
Data Synthesis: 19 trials (4 good-quality and 15 fair-quality) that were designed to prevent tobacco use initiation or promote cessation (or both) and reported self-reported smoking status or harms were included. Pooled analyses from a random-effects meta-analysis suggested a 19% relative reduction (risk ratio, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.70 to 0.93]; absolute risk difference, −0.02 [CI, −0.03 to 0.00]) in smoking initiation among participants in behavior-based prevention interventions compared with control participants. Neither behavior-based nor bupropion cessation interventions improved cessation rates. Findings about the harms related to bupropion use were mixed.
Limitations: No studies reported health outcomes. Interventions and measures were heterogeneous. Most trials examined only cigarette smoking. The body of evidence was largely published 5 to 15 years ago.
Conclusion: Primary care–relevant interventions may prevent smoking initiation over 12 months in children and adolescents.
Primary Funding Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.