The purpose of this review is to study the effect of school-based interventions on smoking prevention for girls.
We performed a systematic review of articles published since 1992 on school-based tobacco-control interventions in controlled trials for smoking prevention among children. We searched the databases of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, The Cochrane Databases, CINAHL, Social Science Abstracts, and PsycInfo. Two reviewers independently assessed trials for inclusion and quality and extracted data. A pooled random-effects estimate was estimated of the overall relative risk.
Thirty-seven trials were included, of which 16 trials with 24,210 girls were included in the pooled analysis. The overall pooled effect was a relative risk (RR) of 0.96 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.86-1.08; I (2)=75 %). One study in which a school-based intervention was combined with a mass media intervention showed more promising results compared to only school-based prevention, and four studies with girl-specific interventions, that could not be included in the pooled analysis, reported statistically significant benefits for attitudes and intentions about smoking and quit rates.
There was no evidence that school-based smoking prevention programs have a significant effect on preventing adolescent girls from smoking. Combining school-based programs with mass media interventions, and developing girl-specific interventions, deserve additional study as potentially more effective interventions compared to school-based-only intervention programs.
Systematic review registration: prospero crd42012002322.
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