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Formative evaluation of a UK community-based sports intervention to prevent smoking among children and young people: SmokeFree Sports

Romeo-Veilla, M and Benyon, C and Murphy, R and McGee, C and Hilland, TA and Parnell, D and Stratton, G and Foweather, L (2014) Formative evaluation of a UK community-based sports intervention to prevent smoking among children and young people: SmokeFree Sports. Journal of Sport for Development, 2 (3). ISSN 2330-0574

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Abstract

Background Smoking is a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in England. This formative research involved the evaluation of SmokeFree Sports (SFS), a novel community sport intervention to prevent smoking among children and young people (CYP). Methods SFS was implemented in five youth clubs situated in deprived communities, between February and June 2011, involving 246 CYP (6-18 years). Seventy-one CYP (median age=10.0 years, 56% male) and five youth club managers participated in this formative evaluation study, which utilised a mixed methods design. Results Smoking prevalence at baseline and post-intervention did not differ significantly (2.8% vs. 1.4%). However, positive educational effects were observed: A lower proportion of respondents believed that smoking cigarettes was associated with weight gain or loss (80.0% to 66.2%). A higher proportion of respondents felt that once a person started smoking it would definitely be difficult to quit (52.1% to 62%). Qualitative data revealed that CYP’s awareness of smoking factors increased while youth club managers provided suggestions for future implementation. Conclusions Sport may be a viable mechanism to educate CYP about elements of smoking and health. This study raises key characteristics for the implementation and evaluation of a definitive trial.

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