The Perspective

Giving teens a reason N-O-T to smoke

current tobacco use

Just 14 years ago, Clark County’s youth smoking rate was 30.7 percent, earning our community the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates in the nation.

In 2010 that rate has dropped to 12.8 percent due in large part to many innovative and ground-breaking programs specifically targeting young people and aimed at getting them to quit smoking or to never initiate tobacco use of any kind.

Not on tobacco

One such initiative is the American Lung Association’s Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) program. N-O-T is strictly a voluntary program offered for free to teens who want to quit smoking or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke, which is often the first step to quitting.

The local program was implemented in 2001 and initially funded with Tobacco Master Settlement funds. N-O-T is a successful research-based tobacco control program. The national program is based on more than 10 years of research and evaluation, and it has a 21 percent quit rate, higher than any other similar program.

The program is designed to draw participants in through small group discussions, hands-on activities and journaling. The core curriculum is presented through 10 sessions and four follow-up “booster” sessions to reinforce what participants have learned and achieved. Because teens are more likely to share in a same-sex setting, there are separate groups for girls and boys and same-sex facilitators for each group. Topics are presented in gender sensitive terms and topics of importance to teens, such as weight control and coping with family members and friends who smoke, are addressed during the sessions.

Locally, N-O-T has successfully worked with its target population which can be found in the school district, the juvenile justice system, homeless youth, Clark County Social Services - including group home settings and incarcerated youth.

In discussing the program with Allison Newlon-Moser, the executive director of the local chapter of the American Lung Association, she explained why the program is especially important to youth who are in an institutional setting.

“When children are forced into a quit situation they view it as part of their punishment and many of them will go back to smoking as soon as they are released,” said Newlon-Moser.

The N-O-T program has trained facilitators who can go into these settings and offer the benefits of the program, which include coping and management skills for the participants to use during various situations they may encounter.

“These sessions are especially meaningful with this population and we find they really look forward to them, and not just because we bring snacks,” said Newlon-Moser.

The minimum size for a group is four and sessions can be held at the American Lung Association offices. If you are interested in more information, or in becoming a facilitator, call (702) 431-6333.

The Southern Nevada Health District and its partners support two tobacco prevention programs geared towards teens: the high school advocacy group, Evolvement, ( and the youth tobacco prevention program, XPOZ (

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