Project Overview +

Puff City Rural Georgia takes the existing Puff City II intervention and applies it to a youth population in rural Georgia.

Puff City is a successful NHLBI-funded study that targeted three key asthma management issues: 1) smoking; 2) controller medication adherence; and 3) carrying a rescue inhaler.

Given the success of Puff City among mid-western, inner city youth, an important question is whether such a program can be transplanted and effective for youth living in a different environment, the rural south. Rural Georgia youth are at equal or greater risk from asthma symptoms as inner city, Detroit youth.

Related Media +

Related Media:

Aims +

Aim 1. To evaluate the effectiveness of the Puff City computer based asthma and smoking management tool among African-American youth attending public high schools in two rural counties of Georgia.

Hypothesis 1. After completing four web-based sessions, youth randomized to the Puff City program (intervention) will have significantly less asthma morbidity and a lower rate of cigarette smoking than youth randomized to the control group (similar web-based sessions visiting public web sites with information on improving asthma control). The dependent outcome variables used to evaluate the two groups will be both subjective (self-report) and objective (biological markers: salivary cotinine, exhaled nitric oxide).

Hypothesis 2. The differences observed between the intervention and control groups of youth will be present at short-term assessment: end of treatment [EOT] at nine weeks, and sustained at long-term assessments: six and twelve months after the completion of the web-based sessions.

Participants +

220 African-American students from two school systems in Burke and Jefferson Counties in rural Georgia, grades 9-11, approximately 14-18 years of age.

Intervention +

The Puff City II program focuses on three areas of health behavior: adherence to controller medications, immediate availability of rescue medication and smoking cessation.

The program includes four educational sessions delivered over the internet, with each session requiring approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Participating youth go to the school computer lab where they don headphones and log into the website. The headphones allow the youth to hear the music, the Puff City DJ and the characters speaking. The sessions provide both normative and ipsative feedback.

Control group participants receive matched time and attention of web-based computer, self-guided asthma and smoking education.