X:IT - Evaluating a School-based Intervention against Smoking
In recent years, Denmark has imposed restrictions on adolescent smoking, partly by banning smoking in schools and partly by introducing a 16-year age limit for purchasing cigarettes and tobacco. These efforts seem to have had an impact as the prevalence of smoking among adolescents has decreased. There are, however, still far too many adolescent smokers: more than one fourth of the Danes above the age of 15 smokes, and more than one in ten smokes daily. When, at the same time, research shows that it is exceedingly difficult to abandon the habit of smoking, both for young and old, there is very good reason to increase the efforts to discourage children and adolescents from starting to smoke.
In contrast to Denmark, Norway and Sweden have good results from smoking interventions targeted at adolescents. Norway has developed a national school-based program, FRI, which is being used in the majority of the country’s primary schools. In Sweden, there are interventions in many areas where schools, parents, the business sector and organizations cooperate on keeping adolescents smoke free. Both in Norway and in Sweden interventions have made the number of adolescent smokers drop by 30-50%. In addition, the interventions have had positive side effects such as a lower alcohol intake among adolescents and more parents who give up smoking. The Danish Cancer Society has developed an intervention to reduce the prevalence of adolescent smoking, X:IT. The intervention is based on Danish and foreign research, and especially on knowledge from these two Nordic projects.X:IT gathers the successful parts from these interventions in one comprehensive intervention package, which has been adapted to Danish municipalities.
Project Smoking aims to assess the impact of project X:IT on the prevalence of smoking among Danish school children in grades 7-9.