Project Overview +

High School ASHES is a comprehensive tailored web-based smoking intervention for high school students. It accelerates smoking cessation among smokers and reinforces prevention decisions among non-smoking teens by tailoring the content of the intervention according to the user's readiness for change.

Aims +

Aim 1. Develop a tailored web-based intervention for smoking cessation and prevention for a high-school population.

Aim 2. Evaluate the intervention using focus groups, usability tests, and user satisfaction surveys.

Participants +

4,244 high school students (in grades 9 and 10 - to complete 12 month follow-up) throughout the state of Michigan.

Intervention +

This project's theory-driven self-help expert system intervention has been designed for all types of teens:

  • non-smokers - to reduce the onset of their cigarette smoking
  • smokers and experimenting teens - to accelerate any smoking cessation
  • ex-smokers - to enhance their ability to remain ex-smokers

An expert system tailors the content of the intervention to each individual's characteristics, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. Students are assessed on smoking status, attitudes about smoking, and perceptions and experiences with smoking.

The program is delivered via the Internet to students during the school day. The six-session computer interventions have equal three-month intervals and are implemented over two school years (three per year). Each 30-minute session can be delivered within a three-month window to accommodate project staff and participating schools' schedules.

Students are randomized into one of four study arms:

  • Expert-navigated action-oriented intervention: Traditional and common, this intervention is tailored for users who are prepared to take action to try smoking (non-smoker) or quitting (smoker) within a short time, or is prepared to maintain abstinence (ex-smoker).
  • Expert-navigated tailored intervention: Fully tailored, with no assumptions that the student wants to take action on any behavior.
  • User-navigated tailored intervention: A user in this condition navigates and chooses the order and the number of the smoking content areas and related topics they would like to review from a menu.
  • Control: An interactive intervention on general health topics (diet, exercise, heart disease, etc.). It offers no intended intervention on smoking.

Findings +

Due to state budgetary constraints and other unforeseen issues, a full trial of this ASHES intervention was not conducted.

High School ASHES

11/01/2002 - 01/18/2003


Michigan Department of Community Health

Principal Investigator:

Unto E. Pallonen, PhD


Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH