A school tobacco policy (STP) commonly is used to reduce smoking among adolescents, but the effectiveness of such programs is unclear. We evaluated the impact of an STP on tobacco use in 4 schools.
The study included 4 intervention and 4 control schools, located in the inner city of Stockholm, Sweden. Schools self-selected for assignment to either an intervention program or a comparison group. In total, the study was comprised of 2671 students in grades 9 and 11, ages 15 to 18, and 1998 students (75%) responded to the questionnaire. We used a repeated cross-sectional design with assessment of tobacco use prevalence before implementation of the STP in 2016 and after 2 years under the program, in 2018.
Two years after the STP, the intervention school in grade 9 showed a lower prevalence (13.5% vs 1.6%) in the proportion of students who reported smoking (χ2 = 4.54; p < .05) whereas the proportion reporting snus use was practically unchanged. We found no statistically significant impact of the STP for grade 11.
The results are promising with regard to smoking, when the STP is implemented in early adolescence.