Helping Young Smokers Quit: Identifying Best Practices for Tobacco Cessation (HYSQ)


Helping Young Smokers Quit (HYSQ) was a two-phase project designed to address the important need to disseminate effective, developmentally appropriate cessation programs for adolescent smokers.

While a growing number of teen cessation programs were available when this project began in 2004, little was known about how many programs existed, where they were located, what services they offered, what populations they served, or how they provided treatment. Moreover, only a handful of such programs had been evaluated.

The HYSQ initiative was the first nationwide study to identify and describe tobacco treatment programs available to youth across the U.S. The initiative also evaluated smoking cessation programs that were tailored for youth to help understand what worked.

In Phase I, a national survey of existing adolescent cessation programs was conducted to identify and characterize major program offerings, and the resources and constraints of the “real world” settings in which these services were offered.

In Phase II, longitudinal program evaluations were conducted of practices being used across the U.S. The overarching question was “What program component, process, and contextual factors are associated with increased recruitment, retention and quit rates?”

The HYSQ initiative filled a gap in knowledge about the numbers and distribution of youth cessation programs, as well as the types of treatment approaches and program components that are currently offered across the US. It identified effective program models and promising directions for future research. Findings from HYSQ assisted practitioners, researchers, and funding organizations plan future youth smoking cessation programs and activities.

Program Evaluation Toolkit

Helping Young Smokers Quit designed an evaluation toolkit for providers of youth smoking cessation programs.

The free toolkit helps program administrators conduct a basic evaluation of their program to figure out the ways it affects the young smokers who take part in it. Learn more.

Start date
End date
Total award
About this grant

Susan J. Curry, PhD, was the principal investigator of this grant until July 31, 2008, when she moved to the University of Iowa. From then until the end of the grant, she served as a lead co-investigator on the project.

Related publications

Learn more about this study on the RWJF website.

Curry SJ, Mermelstein RJ, Sporer AK. Sustainability of community-based youth smoking cessation programs: results from a 3-year follow-up. Health Promot Pract. 2016 Nov;17(6):845-852. [See abstract.]

Curry SJ, Mermelstein RJ, Emery SL, Sporer AK, Berbaum ML, Campbell RT, Flay B, Warnecke RB. A national evaluation of community-based youth cessation programs: end of program and twelve-month outcomes. Am J Community Psychol. 2013 Mar;51(1-2):15-29. [See abstract.]

Houser-Marko L, Curry SJ, Mermelstein RJ, Emery S, Pugach O. A comparison of mandated versus volunteer adolescent participants in youth tobacco cessation programs. Addict Behav. 2011 Sep;36(9):937-40. [See abstract.]

Houser-Marko L, Sporer A, Emery SL, Hund L, Lee J, Curry SJ. Use of program evaluation in community youth tobacco cessation programs. Am J Health Behav. 2010 Mar-Apr;34(2):177-85. [See abstract.]

Emery S, Lee J, Curry SJ, Johnson T, Sporer AK, Mermelstein R, Flay B, Warnecke R. Finding needles in a haystack: a methodology for identifying and sampling community-based youth smoking cessation programs. Eval Rev. 2010 Feb;34(1):35-51. [See abstract.]

Sterling K, Curry S, Sporer A, Emery S, Mermelstein R. Implementation fidelity of packaged teen smoking cessation treatments delivered in community-based settings. Health Educ Res. 2009 Dec;24(6):941-8. [See abstract.]

Curry SJ, Mermelstein RJ, Sporer AK. Therapy for specific problems: youth tobacco cessation. Annu Rev Psychol. 2009;60:229-55. [See abstract.]

Curry SJ, Emery S, Sporer AK, Mermelstein R, Flay BR, Berbaum M, Warnecke RB, Johnson T, Mowery P, Parsons J, Harmon L, Hund L, Wells H. A national survey of tobacco cessation programs for youths. Am J Public Health. 2007 Jan;97(1):171-7. [See abstract.]

Curry SJ, Mermelstein RJ, Sporer AK. Therapy for specific problems: youth tobacco cessation. Annu Rev Psychol. 2009;60:229-55. [See abstract.]

Curry SJ, Sporer AK, Pugach O, Campbell RT, Emery S. Use of tobacco cessation treatments among young adult smokers: 2005 National Health Interview Survey. Am J Public Health. 2007 Aug;97(8):1464-9. [See abstract.]

Diviak KR, Curry SJ, Emery SL, Mermelstein RJ. Human participants challenges in youth tobacco cessation research: researchers' perspectives. Ethics & Behavior. 2004;14(4):32. [See abstract.]

Wagener DK, Sporer AK, Simmerling M, Flome JL, An C, Curry SJ. Human participants challenges in youth-focused research: perspectives and practices of IRB administrators. Ethics & Behavior. 2004;14(4):335–349. [See abstract.]