Smartphone Apps Are Effective for Aiding Smoking Cessation
Use of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based smartphone applications results in 1.49 times higher odds of smoking cessation than use of smartphone applications based on US clinical practice guidelines (USCPG), according to the results of a recent study.
ACT differs from USCPG-based approaches in that it teaches acceptance of smoking triggers and skills to overcome smoking urges instead of teaching to seek the avoidance of smoking triggers. ACT appeals to smokers’ values rather than motivating by logic, as is done in USCPG-based therapy.
For their study, the researchers conducted a blinded, parallel, 2-group randomized clinical trial to compare the 2 types of therapies. All participants were aged 18 years or older, smoked 5 or more cigarettes per day for the past year, had a desire to quit smoking within the next 30 days, and had an interest in learning skills to quit smoking, among others.
After completing a survey at baseline, the participants were randomly assigned to a smartphone application—iCanQuit (n=1214), an application based on ACT therapy, or QuitGuide (n=1201), the National Cancer Institute’s smartphone application that is based on USCPG. Follow-up visits were conducted at 3, 6, and 12 months after randomization.
The primary outcome of the study was self-reported 30-day point prevalence abstinence (PPA) at 12 months following randomization. The primary outcome indicated that iCanQuit users had 1.49 times higher odds of quitting smoking compared with QuitGuide users.
For the secondary outcomes, the researchers found that effect sizes were similar and statistically significant for 7-day PPA at 12 months, prolonged abstinence at 12 months, abstinence from all tobacco products at 12 months, 30-day PPA at 3 months, 30-day PPA at 6 months, 7-day PPA at 3 months, and 7-day PPA at 6 months.
“This trial provides evidence that, compared with a USCPG-based smartphone application, an ACT-based smartphone application was more efficacious for quitting cigarette smoking and thus can be an impactful treatment option,” the study authors concluded.
Bricker JB, Watson NL, Mull KE, Sullivan BM, Heffner JL. Efficacy of smartphone applications for smoking cessation. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 21, 2020. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.4055