U Cancer Center to begin three-year-long teen smoking study

In an attempt to learn more about teen smoking behaviors, the University of Minnesota Cancer Center is beginning a three-year-long study on teen smoking.
The study, funded with $3.9 million from the National Cancer Institute, will recruit 3,500 12- to 16-year-old students from the beginning of October until March 2001.
Cancer Center researchers will follow the teens for three years, surveying them every six months.
Teenagers will be divided into 60 separate geographic areas for the study. Teens from a number of backgrounds will be selected for the study, including those outside of the public school system and even outside the state of Minnesota will be surveyed.
The study examines how teens’ attitudes toward tobacco develop and change over time. It will also serve as a gauge of the effectiveness of the anti-smoking programs funded by tobacco settlements, such as Target Market and T.R.U.T.H.
“[In] a lot of tobacco-use surveys that they do today, it’s just one snap-shot,” said Coleen Southwell, a public relations representative for the University Cancer Center. “But with this survey it’s the same people interviewed every six months for three years.”
Teens that participate in the study will receive a $10 check after each interview.

— Seth Woehrle and Tess Langfus