NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Thursday, June 17, 1999

Contact: Beverly Jackson
Michelle Muth
(301) 443-6245

NIH Institute Opens Treatment Research Center
in Baltimore to Help Teens Quit Smoking

Baltimore-area teenagers who want to kick the habit may be eligible to join the first of a series of smoking cessation research studies being launched by the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Intramural Research Program (IRP).

NIDA is announcing the opening on June 23 of its Teen Tobacco Addiction Treatment Research Clinic (TTATRC), at the new Adolescent Clinic in the IRP's laboratories on the Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus in East Baltimore. This Center will assess which smoking cessation methods, including the use of nicotine patches and gum, with supportive counseling, are effective with teenagers.

"Nearly 400 Maryland teens begin smoking each week and research shows that about half of them will become regular smokers," said Dr. Alan I. Leshner, NIDA's Director. "Adolescents addicted to nicotine experience the same degree and types of withdrawal symptoms as smokers and teens also relapse for the same reasons as adults. While ample research has shown that nicotine patches and gum can help adults, this Center's study is one of the first to focus on whether they can help teens who want to quit smoking."

In addition to testing the effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapies (such as the patches and gum), the studies will assess the usefulness of different counseling and behavioral support approaches.

"This type of combined treatment has yielded superior rates of cessation in adults over the past decade and is now seen as being the ideal approach. It is expected that a youth-tailored, combined approach in a specialized adolescent clinic will improve cessation rates for teens," Leshner explained.

According to NIDA's 24th annual "Monitoring the Future" Survey released in December 1998, 22.4 percent of the nation's 12th graders smoke daily and 12.6 percent smoke half a pack or more of cigarettes per day. The survey also reports that about 3.5 percent of 8th graders and 8.6 percent of 10th graders smoke half a pack or more cigarettes daily.

"Teenage smokers are exposed to immediate health problems such as decreased fitness, reduced lung capacity and, later in life, heart and lung diseases as well as several forms of cancer and shorter life expectancy. Therefore, it's important to evaluate how best to treat those teens who want to quit smoking soon after the onset of dependence," the study's principal investigator, Dr. Eric T. Moolchan, said.

Specifically, the study will investigate the safety, tolerability, compliance and efficacy, in adolescents, of the nicotine patch and nicotine gum in combination with counseling and group support. Three groups of 18 adolescents will be enrolled in this double-blind treatment study which will require about 12 visits to the Center.

More information about how to apply to participate in the study is available by calling 410-550-1502 or 1-800-535-8254.


NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute also carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish, by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (-644-6432) or 1-888-TYY-NIDA (-889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.nida.nih.gov.