When it comes to helping people quit smoking, more isn’t always better. UW-CTRI researchers have found that Smokefree.gov significantly helped patients quit smoking, but this effect was reduced when patients visiting the site also received periodic e-mail messages from the study.
“We hypothesized that this might be due to a degree of annoyance or fatigue felt by those who received the e-mail messages,” said lead author and UW-CTRI Director of Research Administration Dave Fraser. “There was some definite evidence that those receiving the e-mails used the Web site less frequently.
“The people trying to quit smoking via a Web site do appear to be an unique group of smokers who want to do their quitting ‘in private’ without a lot of outside noise,” Fraser said. “Other evidence is how few of them were willing to take phone calls from the Cancer Information Service (CIS) quitline when they were assigned to that treatment.”
There was evidence in the study that medication (nicotine mini-lozenges) was effective and this effect persisted when combined with the active Web site.
For this study, Fraser and colleagues used the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) and randomly assigned 1,034 smokers who entered Smokefree.gov to “on” and “off” conditions of five quit-smoking interventions:
Analyses showed that the brochures and e-mails weren’t very effective. However, the Web site and medications were successful, as well as the quitline (for those who were willing to use it). “We encourage clinicians to use one or more of these three interventions to help patients quit,” Fraser said.
Fraser D, Kobinsky K, Smith SS, Kramer J, Theobald WE, Baker TB. Five Population-Based Interventions for Smoking Cessation: A MOST Trial. Translational Behavioral Medicine. Online August 2014. [Abstract]
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