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The Smoking Cessation for Youth Project: A harm minimisation intervention trial targeting tobacco use by high school youth

The Smoking Cessation for Youth Project (SCYP) was a Healthway-funded project which aimed to encourage and provide skills-based activities for occasional and regular 14 and 15 year-old cigarette smokers to help them quit or at least reduce their current smoking, while confirming the advantages of being smoke-free to non-smokers. After declining during the 1980s, teenage smoking increased during the 1990s. New approaches to improve the effectiveness of smoking education are warranted as it appears current strategies have had limited success. The SCYP intervention was based on harm minimisation principles and a year-long formative trial BRASH. In a randomised control trial design, 14 schools received the SCYP intervention while 16 schools continued to address cigarette smoking with current Department of Education approaches. Data were collected from over 4000 students on four occasions during 1999 and 2000.

When comparing students receiving the SCYP harm minimisation intervention to control students receiving the usual health education, the SCYP was found to reduce regular cigarette smoking (five days per week or more); and prevent greater uptake of cigarette smoking by students who had not smoked. These findings suggest harm minimisation approaches are an alternative to traditional school-based programs that effectively addressed the needs of all students based upon their current smoking behaviour; and assists young people to quit or cut down smoking;

Project duration


Funding body



Professor Donna Cross
Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, New Zealand, Dr Greg Hamilton
Associate Professor Marg Hall
University of Michigan, United States, Dr Ken Resnicow
Curtin University, Dr Robert Donovan

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