||1R01CA242171-01 Interpret this number
||University Of Texas Hlth Sci Ctr Houston
||Middle School Cluster Rct to Evaluate E-Cigarette Prevention Program: Catch My Breath
PROJECT SUMMARY / ABSTRACT
The goal of this research is to empirically assess the three year effects of the ‘CATCH My Breath’ (CMB) program
on delaying the onset of e-cigarette use with a 6th–8th grade cohort, using a 20-school group randomized
controlled trial (RCT), with 1,400 students. E-cigarettes have grown in popularity and are the most commonly
used tobacco product by US youth. Based on 2017 Monitoring the Future estimates, we project that 1.6 million
middle school students will have ever tried an e-cigarette. Flavors such as candy and fruit are appealing to youth
and play an important role in encouraging nonsmokers (and smokers) to try them.
Although e-cigarettes are less harmful compared to combustible tobacco use, they contain nicotine, which is
highly addictive. Recent research, including a 2017 meta analysis, strongly suggests that youth who only smoke
e-cigarettes exhibit symptoms of addiction, and over time, are more likely to experiment with and use
combustible tobacco. To avoid the possibility of nicotine addiction, nonsmoking youth should be educated about
this health threat and discouraged from experimenting with e-cigarettes.
Unfortunately, few e-cigarette prevention programs exist, and none tested for long-term efficacy. In addition,
although some tobacco prevention programs have included an e-cigarette component, to our knowledge, none
of these revised programs have been formally evaluated. The lack of e-cigarette specific program content, and
rigorous evaluation, warrants the proposed project.
CMB was developed and custom built with input from school administrators, health education coordinators,
tobacco prevention educators, classroom teachers, students, and parents. CMB has been formatively evaluated
and pilot tested at 59 middle schools in 7 states, resulting in positive feedback from over 100 middle school
teachers and 9,578 6th–8th grade students. Our second pilot test was a pretest-posttest controlled experiment
(2017-2018), and resulted in an treatment-control difference of 3.8% in ever smoking over a 16-month period.
Finally, the research team, with the CATCH Global Foundation, have developed a digital school-health program
distribution framework which includes in-person or on-line teacher training (https://catchinfo.org/modules/e-
cigarettes/). Using this framework, CMB can be delivered to teachers at very low cost, eliminating cost and
access to program materials as major barriers to program implementation. Given CMB’s current popularity with
schools as a ‘best practice’ program, and with initial positive results, a full scale randomized control trial is needed
to determine longer term, 6th-8th grade efficacy.
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