379: Mobile phone-based interventions effective for smoking cessation

February 14, 2013

PEARLS 379, February 2013, written by Brian R McAvoy

Clinical question: How effective are mobile phone-based interventions in helping cigarette smokers to quit?

Bottom line: Mobile phone-based interventions increased the long-term quit rates compared with control programmes, using a definition of abstinence or no smoking at six months since quit day but allowing up to three lapses or up to five cigarettes. Three studies involved a purely text messaging intervention (providing motivation, support and tips for quitting) and one was a multi-arm study of a text messaging intervention and an internet QuitCoach separately and in combination. The final study involved a video messaging intervention delivered via mobile phone.

Caveat: Results were heterogeneous, with findings from three of five studies crossing the line of no effect. There were no published studies on smartphone applications designed to help people stop smoking.

Context: Innovative and effective smoking cessation interventions are required to appeal to those who are not accessing traditional smoking cessation services. Mobile phones are widely used and are now well-integrated into the daily lives of many, particularly young adults. Mobile phones are a potential medium for the delivery of health programmes, such as smoking cessation.

Cochrane Systematic Review: Whittaker R et al. Mobile phone-based interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Reviews, 2012, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD006611.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD006611.pub3. This review contains 5 studies involving over 9000 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.