UT MD Anderson Cancer Center aims to reduce tobacco use among at-risk youths in SE Texas

July 19, 2017

HealthScare General Hospital uses a hospital metaphor in which players "travel" to different "rooms" to learn about the dangers of tobacco use. The software assesses the player's smoking status, nicotine dependence and other smoking-related characteristics and provides multiple educational tracks tailored to these characteristics, including readiness to change smoking behavior, level of addiction, ethnic background and gender. The game emphasizes the causes of lung cancer and the role smoking plays in its development and incorporates strategies for smoking prevention.

The game was tested with high school students at two alternative schools in the Houston area. After playing the game, 94 percent reported that the information increased their knowledge about smoking effects, and 82 percent reported that they were inspired to quit - or never to start. Among students who identified themselves at smokers, 53 percent reported they had quit smoking six months after first playing the game.

During his tenure at MD Anderson, Prokhorov has established a strong record of state- and federally funded research projects and has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. His work focuses on creating and testing innovative tobacco prevention and cessation programs for high-risk teens and young adults. His interactive multimedia website ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience) has reached thousands of young users in Texas, nationally and internationally. He also develops programs aimed at increasing awareness of the tobacco risks among the general public and enhancing smoking cessation counseling skills among health care providers in Texas and beyond. Prokhorov is a much sought-after speaker for national and international conferences and seminars aimed at facilitating tobacco control and cancer prevention. He currently serves as the chair of the Tobacco Special Interest Group of the American Society for Preventative Oncology and is a member of the Julius Richmond Center of Excellence with the mission to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Source: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center