Yale videogame research lab receives grant to tackle smoking among teens

A still frame from a video game designed to stop kids from smoking. A character rejects a cigarette from another.

The Yale Center for Health & Learning Games has received a three-year, $1.4 million grant to study and disseminate their videogame intervention, smokeSCREEN, to raise awareness and prevent smoking and use of electronic cigarettes among teens.

The grant will support work of the Center’s play2PREVENT Lab, which developed the smokeSCREEN game — an interactive, narrative-based videogame app designed for teens. Through the app, players “travel” through a virtual life, facing challenges and making choices about smoking and tobacco use. The character-based, graphic-novel style game tests the teens’ decision making-while also providing strategies to avoid smoking.

Results of a recent pilot study found that the game does effectively impact teens’ perceptions of risk and knowledge concerning cigarettes and e-cigarettes. With the grant, the Lab can further develop and disseminate the game with the goal of reaching more teens nationally with the anti-smoking and electronic cigarette message.

The grant, from CVS Health Foundation, is part of a broader effort to create a tobacco-free generation using innovative strategies to reach youth.

The play2PREVENT Lab, founded in 2009, and the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, founded in 2015 at Yale School of Medicine, are directed by Dr. Lynn Fiellin, associate professor of medicine and in the Child Study Center. Their mission is to develop and evaluate serious games — games that educate as well as entertain — and their applications to health and behavioral science.

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Media Contact

Ziba Kashef: ziba.kashef@yale.edu, 203-436-9317