ASPIRE - (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience)

ASPIRE - (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience)

United States
Project Summary
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Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience) uses a multimedia approach to educate and train adolescents in adopting tobacco-free lifestyles.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Narrow Corporate or Public Policy Mission

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Physical Health

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention and Interactive Experience) is dependent upon funding for sustainability. All future development and enhancements, of this web-based program, require funding to continue to disseminate information about the tobacco-attributable diseases and other risks associated with tobacco use.

What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience) uses a multimedia approach to educate and train adolescents in adopting tobacco-free lifestyles.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

ASPIRE uses a multimedia approach which includes: interactive activities, videos, animation, and visually appealing graphics, to capture the interest of adolescents, and to educate them on the health risks of smoking and using tobacco. Offering "customized" messages, ASPIRE focuses on both the smoker and the non-smoker. Through interactive exercises, the participant identifies their status as a smoker, or a non-smoker, in order to receive information that is relevant. The customization of "individual" messages is a differentiating factor. The web-based program is self-led and does not require time from either teachers or parents. The ASPIRE web site evolved from the evidence-based ASPIRE curriculum that demonstrated results in decreasing tobacco use in schools that implemented the ASPIRE curriculum program.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

There is a need for age appropriate smoking cessation and prevention programs based on the following:

*Marketing activities of big tobacco companies have not been countered with stronger smoking prevention and cessation efforts
*Teenage smokers are reluctant to identify themselves
*Smoking prevention and cessation programs fail to account for individual differences
*Existing programs fail to use the computer and electronic media technology to attract today's youth

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

ASPIRE, a web-based smoking prevention and cessation program, counters the "myths" of smoking offered by the big tobacco companies, and offers "facts" about the health risks associated with smoking.

The facts are:
*Tobacco is the single chief avoidable cause of death
*There is one death from tobacco every eight seconds
*Each cigarette shortens a smoker's life by 11 minutes
*Each day 80,000 to 100,000 young people become addicted to tobacco
*Smoking even one cigarette per day could be a sign of addiction
*Smoking drains $157 billion in medical costs and lost productivity
*Smoking kills approximately 440,000 Americans each year

Using a web-based program enables information to be disseminated to a world-wide audience and to be more easily updated. Tobacco use continues to have a physical, emotional and social impact on people around the world whether they are smokers or non-smokers. One-third of the cancers could be reduced by quitting tobacco use.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

Presently, we are investigating web development, dependent upon funding, in order to offer enhanced navigation tools, a new user interface, updated facts and figures, new graphics and artwork, and updated media modules. The new modules will address the health risks associated with smokeless tobacco and the influence of the movie industry, with adolescents, by showing smoking in the movies. There is a constant need to update and refresh information in order to counter the current marketing activities of the big tobacco companies. Smoking in the movies influences adolescents to smoke. In the real world, smoking kills. We need to continue to communicate, inform, and educate adolescents about the health risks associated with smoking. ASPIRE has demonstrated success and we need to build upon that success and continue to expand the web site to assist adolescents with their effort to quit, and to prevent adolescents who presently do not smoke, not to start smoking.

Provide one sentence describing your impact.

The Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas, Middle and High Schools implemented an ASPIRE curriculum, and the overall tobacco and smoking prevalence decreased.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

The Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas, Middle and High School students who were introduced to the ASPIRE curriculum benefited from ASPIRE because there has been a drop in smoking rates and tobacco use among this population, according to the "Texas School Survey of Tobacco and Smoking Use, 2006." The results from the evidence-based ASPIRE curriculum, show fewer students initiated smoking in the intervention group (2%) compared to the control group (6%).

The ASPIRE web site, evolved from the ASPIRE curriculum, and has had over 27,000 visitors, as of August '07, and 66 countries have visited the ASPIRE site to gain more information about the health risks of smoking. Through funding, we will be able to sustain the site with enhancements and increase awareness of the site through marketing campaigns.

How many people have you served directly?

A "curriculum- based" ASPIRE was implemented in the Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX, Middle and High Schools with much success. These students were directly impacted from the ASPIRE curriculum, and tobacco and smoking usage decreased. The findings from the curriculum-based ASPIRE indicate that an intervention smoking program appears to positively change determinants, and smoking behaviors among baseline nonsmokers, and successfully prevent smoking initiation. The ASPIRE web site evolved from the curriculum-based ASPIRE, and with the present web-based format, we now have the ability to extend smoking/tobacco prevention and cessation intervention to a world-wide audience. We hypothesize that the site's anti-tobacco messages will lower onset of smoking and increase smoking cessation among adolescents.

How many people have you served indirectly?

As of August of 2007, there have been over 27,000 visitors to the ASPIRE web site; 66 countries have visited the site, and the average site visit per month is 805 visitors. It is key to acquire funding to increase awareness of the site, in addition to, expanding the site's capabilities in order to continue to address the needs of a world-wide audience.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

ASPIRE is an interactive smoking prevention and cessation intervention that offers customized messages according to the user's reponses. The ASPIRE software assesses smoking status, readiness to start or quit smoking, level of addiction, and symptoms of depression. The software features games, quizzes, and animations to appeal to adolescents. We hypothesize the intervention will lower onset of smoking and increase smoking cessation among adolescents by providing tailored anti-tobacco messages.

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

Funding is required for ASPIRE's sustainability. The web site needs to keep current by updating facts and statistics, enhancing the user interface, and appealing to the needs of a world-wide audience. Marketing funds need to be available in order to attract and direct more visitors to the site to get the facts about smoking and understand the health risks associated with tobacco use.

How is your initiative financed?

Funding was provided by the National Cancer Institute and the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research. Presently, we are investigating additional funding in order to sustain the ASPIRE program.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

ASPIRE Online was developed with a $75K investment by outsourcing the project to an external multimedia resource. Funding will be needed to expand the site's capabilities and to continue to enhance the site's features and functions.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

ASPIRE is a web-based smoking prevention and cessation tool that holds strong appeal with adolescents by offering games, quizzes and animations. The multimedia technology appeals to today's adolescent while offering strong anti-tobacco messages. The web-based format offers easy scaleability to satisfy the demands of a world-wide audience.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Obtaining funding is a barrier to sustainability. Identifying compatible partners, for joint marketing activities, is being reviewed. Collaborative marketing will increase awareness of the ASPIRE site but funding will be needed to make future web site enhancements.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

Recent studies indicate that existing smoking prevention strategies have failed to produce population reductions in adolescent smoking prevalence. First, effective smoking prevention programs have not been widely disseminated. Second, when adopted, teachers often fail to adhere to program guidelines over a long-period of time. Third, adolescents who smoke are reluctant to identify themselves to seek cessation assistance. Fourth, smoking prevention and cessation programs often fail to account for salient individual differences among adolescents. Finally, most existing smoking prevention and cessation programs do not utilize modern communication technologies and do not meet the demands of the contemporary computer-literate adolescent. ASPIRE was designed in order to meet the current needs of the adolescent and offer guidance and assistance to quit smoking and to prevent adolescents who do not smoke, from starting to smoke.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Alexander V. Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician with extensive experience working with young populations. Dr. Prokhorov has conducted studies related to nicotine dependence, and the health impact of tobacco use on adolescents and young adults. He has studied subjects' adherence to recommended cancer screening schedules. Currently, Dr. Prokhorov directs several research projects, including three NIH-funded studies, and heads the M. D. Anderson Tobacco Outreach Education Program (TOEP).

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

The Changemakers web site was referred by a colleague. The main incentive to participate in the competition is to receive funding in order to continue to develop and enhance the ASPIRE web site.