Youth Cessation

Every day in the United States, up to 4,000 youth begin experimenting with cigarettes and approximately 1,200 youth become daily smokers. Yet the majority of adolescents who smoke (82%) report that they are thinking about quitting, and 77% have made a quit attempt in the past year. Despite their expressed desire and attempts to quit, only about 4% successfully do so each year.1

Below we provide brief information about youth smoking cessation. For information on prevention strategies for use with youths, please visit our Prevention section.

  • Counseling has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for adolescents trying to quit smoking.1
    • According to a Cochrane Review,2 the majority of youth smoking cessation programs that have been evaluated to-date involve some combination of motivational enhancement and psychological support, with a number also being tailored to the youth’s stage of change based on the Transtheoretical Model.
  • While nicotine replacement therapy has been shown to be safe for use with adolescents, there is little evidence that these medications or others such as buproprion help promote long-term abstinence in youths.1,2


Additional Helpful Links:

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids: This website highlights the latest global, federal, and state initiatives to reduce tobacco use, state-specific facts on tobacco use. Youth advocacy is also highlighted.

Youth Tobacco Cessation: A Guide for Making Informed Decisions (2004): This is a document designed to enable organizations to decide if and how to implement youth tobacco cessation efforts.

MedLine Plus: Smoking and Youth: This website provides the latest news, research, and statistics related to youth smoking.

Helping Young Smokers Quit: Identifying Best Practices for Tobacco Cessation: HYSQ offers free e-bulletins for program administrators, tobacco control advocates, and tobacco researchers.

Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative: The YTCC aims to provide all tobacco users between the ages of 12 and 24 with access to effective tools to facilitate tobacco cessation.

I Quit: A smoking program for youth developed by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health.

This is Quitting: A text messaging program and app developed by the Truth Initiative with tailored messaging for teens and young adults who are attempting to quit cigarettes or ENDS. The text messaging program also provides resources for parents. 


1.  Fiore MC, Jaen CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2008.

2. Grimshaw G, Stanton, A. Tobacco cessation interventions for young people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4, Art. No.: CD003289.