Project Ex

Program Description
Project EX is a school-based, tobacco-use cessation program for high school youth (ages 14-19 years). The program is delivered in a clinic setting and involves enjoyable, motivating activities such as games, mock talk shows, and yoga. At the completion of the program, youth will be able to:

  • Stop or reduce cigarette smoking
  • State accurate information about environmental, social, physiological, and emotional consequences of tobacco use

Students participating in Project EX will learn accurate knowledge of tobacco addiction and disease and develop an empathetic understanding of the effects of tobacco use on friends. The 8-session curriculum is delivered over a 6-week period. It emphasizes coping with stress, dealing with nicotine withdrawal, relaxation techniques, and how to avoid relapse. It aims to teach self-control, anger management, mood management, and goal setting techniques, and it provides self-esteem enhancement. Project EX has proved successful when implemented with students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Awards and Recognition
Project EX has been identified as a model or exemplary program by the following organizations:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

For additional information on this program contact: Lorraine Jimenez at

Cigarette smoking during childhood and adolescence produces significant health problems among young people, including cough and phlegm production, an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, decreased physical fitness, an unfavorable lipid profile and potential retardation in the rate of lung growth and the level of maximum lung function. An estimated 440,000 Americans die each year from diseases caused by smoking.

  • Each day, nearly 6,000 children under 18 years of age start smoking; of these, nearly 2,000 will become regular smokers. That is almost 800,000 annually.
  • It is estimated that at least 4.5 million U.S. adolescents are cigarette smokers.
  • Approximately 90 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21.
  • If current tobacco use patterns persist, an estimated 6.4 million children will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.
  • According to a 2001 national survey of high school students, the overall prevalence of current cigarette use was 28 percent.
  • Nearly 20 percent of 12th graders, 12 percent of 10th graders and 5.5 percent of 8th graders smoke cigarettes daily.
  • Adolescents who smoke regularly can have just as hard a time quitting as long-time smokers.
  • Of adolescents who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, most of them report that they would like to quit, but are not able to do so.
  • Cigarette advertisements tend to emphasize youthful vigor, sexual attraction and independence themes, which appeal to teenagers and young adults struggling with these issues.
  • Tobacco use in adolescence is associated with a range of health-compromising behaviors, including being involved in fights, carrying weapons, engaging in high-risk sexual behavior and using alcohol and other drugs.