New $4.3 Million Grant Offers Avenues to Help Dual Users Quit Smoking

For people who both smoke and vape, there will be new paths to help them address their relationship with nicotine.

The Avenues Study will begin soon, thanks to a $4.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Megan Piper
Dr. Megan Piper

UW-CTRI Research Director Dr. Megan Piper and UW-CTRI Associate Director Dr. Tim Baker will lead the study.

“The goal of the research is to identify the most effective ways to help people who both smoke and vape to quit smoking,” Piper said.

“Many adults who start vaping do so to help them quit smoking,” Baker said.

“Unfortunately, in most cases, they are unsuccessful and end up using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes—that is, being ‘dual users.’ It is highly unlikely that dual use is helping such individuals reduce the many harms of smoking. This research aims to determine how to help such dual users quit smoking and avoid further harms.”

Dr. Tim Baker
Dr. Tim Baker

Researchers will recruit 500 people who both smoke and vape. Participants will be randomized to one of two levels of each treatment factor:

  1. Medications—participants will get either varenicline or nicotine patch.
  2. Counseling approach—participants will either be encouraged to just quit smoking (and keep vaping to support that quit attempt) or to quit both smoking and vaping.
  3. Counseling intensity—participants will get either one coaching session or four sessions.

Participants can earn up to $445 by completing the year-long study.

Innovative Recruitment
In their effort to recruit 500 participants, the research team will partner for the first time with Evidation, a vendor with more than 5 million members who have already volunteered to participate in research. Evidation leverages machine learning to best match potential participants to research studies. And, they know which of their volunteers smoke and vape. The study ads will appear only to those users.

“We hope this will lead to recruitment that is more cost-effective and streamlined,” said UW-CTRI Distinguished Communications Director Chris Hollenback. “We’ll also have our traditional strategies—including media relations, advertising, social media marketing, and grassroots recruitment ready to be implemented as necessary.”

Real-Time Data
Participants will use smartphones to share information with researchers two weeks before and after their quit dates. Every evening, participants will record smoking, vaping, medication use, craving levels, self-efficacy and other insights.

To date, no published studies have identified effective ways to help people who both smoke and vape to quit smoking.

“As more and more people both smoke and vape, we’re excited to learn how to help them quit smoking,” Piper said.