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Background and Aim. The hazardous health effects of smoking and second-hand smoke are well known and have been confirmed in several studies. We wondered whether a school based programme involving media models such as those represented by famous soccer players and TV characters, was effective in prevention of smoking habit in secondary school adolescents. Methods. Since October 2006 to May 2007 an anonymous survey was submitted to 1382 secondary schools pupils. After completing the questionnaire all students of 42 out of 70 classes selected by the school principals underwent a prevention programme consisting of 1 hour lecture on smoke healthy hazard with educational material (slides, video, leaflets). Furthermore each pupil was given card games with significant pictures. Since October 2007 to May 2008 and Since October 2008 to May 2009 pupils underwent a 1 hour interactive lesson on smoke related health hazards respectively. On December 2007 pupils in study attended a theatre event with show business characters acting to smoke dissuasion. No intervention was performed on the 568 pupils of the other classes along all the same 2 school- year period (controls). Results. Among other results at the end of the 2-year program 4% pupils of study group and 14% of controls reported smoking habit (p = 0.001) whereas 7% and 27% (p = 0.001) of study and control pupils respectively ignored smoking induced dependence. Conclusion. A school based programme involving media models such as those represented by famous soccer players, TV characters, was effective in prevention of smoking habit in secondary school adolescents.
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