A Middle School Program to Prevent E-Cigarette Use: A Pilot Study of “CATCH My Breath”

Steven H. Kelder, Dale S. Mantey, Duncan Van Dusen, Kathleen Case, Alexandra Haas, Andrew E. Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objectives: From 2017 to 2018, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use increased 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students in the United States. However, few e-cigarette prevention interventions have been evaluated. We determined the feasibility and initial effectiveness of “CATCH My Breath,” an e-cigarette prevention program, among a sample of middle schools in central Texas. Methods: Twelve middle schools in Texas (6 intervention schools and 6 control schools) participated in the CATCH My Breath pilot program during 2016-2017. CATCH My Breath is rooted in social cognitive theory, consists of 4 interactive in-class modules, and is collaboratively administered via classroom and physical education teachers, student–peer leaders, and social messaging (eg, school posters). We collected 3 waves of data: baseline (January 2017), 4-month follow-up (May 2017), and 16-month follow-up (May 2018). Using school as the unit of analysis, we tested a repeated cross-sectional, condition-by-time interaction on e-cigarette ever use, psychosocial determinants of use, and other tobacco use behaviors. Analyses controlled for school-level sociodemographic characteristics (eg, sex, race/ethnicity, and percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch). Results: From baseline to 16-month follow-up, increases in ever e-cigarette use prevalence were significantly lower among intervention schools (2.8%-4.9%) than among control schools (2.7%-8.9%), controlling for covariates (P =.01). Intervention schools also had significantly greater improvements in e-cigarette knowledge (β = 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.21-1.21; P =.008) and perceived positive outcomes (β = –0.12; 95% CI, –0.23 to –0.02; P =.02) than control schools, controlling for covariates from baseline to 16-month follow-up. Conclusion: Ever e-cigarette use was lower among middle schools that implemented the CATCH My Breath program than among those that did not. Replication of findings among a larger sample of schools, using a group-randomized, longitudinal study design and a longer follow-up period, is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-229
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent health
  • e-cigarettes
  • prevention
  • school health
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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