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Open Access Correction

Rationale, design and conduct of a comprehensive evaluation of a school-based peer-led anti-smoking intervention in the UK: the ASSIST cluster randomised trial [ISRCTN55572965]

Fenella Starkey1*, Laurence Moore2, Rona Campbell1, Mark Sidaway2, Michael Bloor3 and ASSIST (A Stop Smoking In Schools Trial)

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

2 Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

3 Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:301  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-301

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Received:11 September 2007
Accepted:23 October 2007
Published:23 October 2007

© 2007 Starkey et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In preparing the main results paper from this trial, we have noticed an important error in the study protocol paper[1]. In the paragraph headed 'Outcome measures and sample size calculations', the current text "A secondary outcome measure is smoking prevalence among the entire year group." is incorrect, since smoking prevalence among the entire year group is one of two primary outcomes, rather than a secondary outcome. The equal status of the two primary outcomes was agreed at a meeting of the Trial Steering Committee on the 21st January 2005, where the analysis plan was finalised prior to completion of trial data collection. As indicated in the sample size paragraph, study power was considered in terms of both the whole year group and the high-risk sub-group. The incorrect emphasis in the published study protocol paper on the high risk sub-group analysis was a legacy of the funding proposal protocol, in which the sub-group sample size calculations critically determined the number of schools required for the trial.

Some other changes to the paragraph are also required to contextualise the corrected status of the outcomes. The corrected version of the paragraph should read:

Outcome measures and sample size calculations

The trial's primary outcome measure is smoking prevalence measured (i) among the high-risk group and (ii) among the entire year group. The high-risk group is defined as those students who, at baseline, had experimented with cigarettes, were ex-smokers, or were occasional (less than weekly) smokers. These students are a primary target group because they are at greatest risk of becoming regular smokers, and the feasibility study showed an effect amongst this group [18]. Smoking prevalence is defined as students smoking a cigarette in the previous seven days. These outcome measures are being validated by measurement of salivary cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine), as studies have found cotinine to be the most accurate biomarker of smoke exposure in the previous two to three days [22,23]. Secondary outcome measures include perceptions of norms regarding adolescent smoking, and intention to quit.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused in our oversight with regard to this important detail.


  1. Starkey F, Moore L, Campbell R, Sidaway M, Bloor M, ASSIST (A Stop Smoking In Schools Trial): Rationale, design and conduct of a comprehensive evaluation of a school-based peer-led anti-smoking intervention in the UK: the ASSIST cluster randomised trial [ISRCTN55572965].

    BMC Public Health 2005, 5:43.

    (22 April 2005)

    PubMed Abstract | BioMed Central Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text OpenURL

Pre-publication history

The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here: