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Tobacco Cessation Programs Take on Customized Approach

Tobacco Cessation Programs Take on Customized Approach
M. D. Anderson News Release, 11/20/03

Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are fine-tuning tobacco cessation to create more individualized stop-smoking treatments.

“Tobacco cessation is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Paul M. Cinciripini, Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Behavioral Science.

Bolstered by the knowledge that different groups of individuals may respond to stop-smoking treatments in different ways, investigators are tailoring clinical trials to determine the best approach for each targeted audience, he says.

Pregnant women, teens, Spanish-speaking individuals and college students are among the various population groups participating in current tobacco research.

“We know that various groups of individuals have concerns specific to that group and may be motivated to respond to different types of tobacco cessation treatment,” Cinciripini says.

To address the preferences of different types of smokers, M. D. Anderson is offering prospective quitters a variety of research studies.

College students

Project SUCCESS (Alexandre V. Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator) uses motivation interviewing and health information (an individual’s respiratory symptoms, lung function and carbon monoxide level) to help college students quit smoking. Conducted at Student Health Services on the University of Houston, Central Campus, the study is for smokers matriculating in a four-year college curriculum.  Cessation methods include nicotine replacement therapy and face-to-face and Web-based counseling sessions. To participate, individuals must be students at the University of Houston Central Campus, age 18 – 35, smoke at least one cigarette per day and participate in two individual and five Internet-based counseling sessions.

High school students

Project ASPIRE (Alexandre V. Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator) is an interactive multimedia smoking cessation program to help students from 16 Houston-area, predominately urban, minority high schools to stop smoking. The study is a computer-based interactive, multimedia intervention program.  Researchers are assessing several components, including 1) how much individual students smoke, 2) whether they are thinking about quitting smoking, 3) level of nicotine dependence, 4) withdrawal and 5) level of depression.  A Web-based CD-ROM version is scheduled to be available in the coming months for 8th  - 12th-grade students in the 16 identified high schools.

New mothers

Although many women stop smoking during pregnancy, relapse rates for postpartum women are high, with about 80 percent of women resuming smoking by the time the baby reaches its first birthday. The aim of another M. D. Anderson study (David W. Wetter, Ph.D., principal investigator) is to develop and evaluate a treatment to reduce postpartum relapse rates for women who quit during pregnancy by increasing commitment and motivation to remain a non-smoking mother. This method involves mainly telephone-based counseling that addresses issues such as mood changes, stress, social support and weight concerns.

Spanish-speaking smokers

Adios al Fumar (David W. Wetter, Ph.D., principal investigator) is a project to increase the reach and effectiveness of smoking cessation services offered in Spanish by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service (1-800-4-CANCER). More than 200 participants have enrolled in Adios since the program began last year. The project consists of two components, 1) using various media approaches (print and broadcast advertising in Spanish-language media, targeted direct mailing) to reach Hispanic smokers in Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso and 2) a follow-up telephone counseling program.

Lung cancer screening

In another study, researchers are recruiting current and former smokers to participate in the largest lung cancer screening study ever conducted, the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST, Reginald F. Munden, M.D., principal investigator).  M. D. Anderson is among 30 sites across the United States recruiting 50,000 smokers to participate in a study determining whether spiral computed tomography (CT) scan or chest X-ray is better at detecting lung cancer.  M. D. Anderson is the only participating site in Texas and in the entire southwest United States and plans to recruit 1,000 current and former smokers. 

For more information, or to enroll in tobacco research studies, call (713) 792-2265.  For more information about NLST, call (713) 792-5340.  For information about tobacco cessation and lung screening research, visit the Web site at

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center