Author(s)Adamson, Grace Culley
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AbstractSmoking is the number-once preventable cause of death, contributing to more than 1 in 5 deaths per year in the United States. Statistics indicate that 90% of adult smokers tried their first cigarette before the age of 18. In Vermont, the rate of youth smoking dramatically increases between middle school and high school, and individuals in the State with lower incomes have significantly higher smoking rates than those with middle and upper class incomes. Whether a youth decides to try smoking is strongly influenced by their peers’ smoking behavior and beliefs, and several studies have shown that peer-led tobacco prevention strategies may be more effective in curbing youth smoking rates than formal, classroom interventions led by teachers and other adults. This project focused on training middle-school youth leaders in Winooski, Vermont, the lowest-income community in its county, to learn about the harms of tobacco use and to become ambassadors of smoking prevention efforts within their school district.