Mobilizing Peer Support for Tobacco Reduction
With over a billion cigarettes smoked each year by Canadian youth, it is imperative that substantial efforts be made to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco. Peer Resources with the assistance of Health Canada has initiated a project to mobilize peer support for tobacco reduction. The project includes five components: a foundation paper on mobilizing peer support; a peer helper workbook for tobacco reduction strategies; the development of tobacco reduction resources available through the internet; the distribution of an issue of the Peer Counsellor Journal; and the creation of a network of peer programs associated with comprehensive health education.
The summary and table of contents of the foundation paper are detailed below and a copy of the full paper is available online to members of the Peer Resources Network at: http://www.peer.ca/Passaccess.html. (Password access is required.)
FOUNDATION PAPER SUMMARY
This paper stresses the role that peer helpers can provide in the delivery of smoking reduction and prevention strategies. The author, Rey Carr, a recognized international authority on peer programs and prevention, suggests that successful reduction strategies must:
Practical suggestions are provided as to how to integrate these principles into program delivery activities, and resources for further program development are provided.
- recognize the limits of traditional approaches;
- integrate smoking prevention into a comprehensive health curriculum;
- base reduction and prevention strategies on adolescent needs, perceptions, and beliefs, particularly their social and experiential life; and
- use peer helping principles which have been derived from empirical standards and practices.
TABLE OF CONTENTS OF THE FOUNDATION PAPER
- The Present Health Situation - How Bad Can It Be
Canadian statistics revealing the health consquences associated with smoking as well as statistics regarding the prevalence of smoking amongst Canadian youth.
- The Failure of the Information Models
An analysis of why traditional prevention and reduction methods have limited utility with specific reference to the lack of attention to social context as an influence on adolescent actions, the misunderstanding of the nature of peer pressure, the proliferation of narrow-focus manuals, and the reluctance of schools to implement comprehensive health interventions.
- Peer Support and Healthy Choices
The rationale and basis for using peers in health generally and smoking reduction specifically with details about how peer helping differs from self-help and other forms of helping, the four primary needs of adolescents, and the success and cautions associated with social skills training.
- Life Skills for a Changing World
The characteristics of youth who are at-risk of being victimized by drugs and the characteristics of youth who appear to resist drug abuse.
- Peer Involvement in a Prevention Curriculum
The importance of friends in growth and development, details about the extent of peer helping in Canada, and the roles peers play in peer programs.
- Tips, Guidelines, and Standards for Effective Peer Programs
Details about the eight components associated with successful and effective peer programs, examples of how to select, train, and supervise peer helpers, and a program standards checklist.
- Resources and Contacts for Peer-Based Activities
Information about resources available for smoking reduction and peer helping via print and electronic media, and examples of programs using peers to reduce and prevent smoking.
- Conclusions and References.
|Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.||The Late Jerry Garcia