Can an App Help You Quit Smoking?

It seems like apps these days have the power to help us do virtually anything, from hailing a ride to applying for a job to managing our health. Indeed, recent studies have showcased apps’ potential when it comes to health care, including for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Now, new research has highlighted the role that apps can play in addressing the frequent root cause of some of the costliest chronic conditions, by aiding with smoking cessation efforts. As mHealth Intelligence first reported, a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) demonstrated that users of an app called Clickotine, which was “engineered to engage smokers by personalizing intervention components,” showed “encouraging quit rates” among a group of participants who wanted to cease smoking cigarettes.

The study examined more than 400 patients, all of whom, in opting to participate, expressed a desire to quit smoking. Enter Clickotine. The app, the authors note, is distinct from other smoking cessation apps in that it was specifically designed, for the study, to adhere to clinical standards. Per those standards, the app was highly personalized, allowing individual participants to receive tailored interventions as they sought to quit smoking. Along with looking at self-reported outcomes (abstinence from smoking), researchers measured participants’ progress by examining app open rates, as well as interactions with the app.

The results? According to the authors, 45.2 percent of Clickotine users reported having abstained from smoking for a week; when users were surveyed again eight weeks later, 26.2 percent told researchers they had abstained for 30 days. Notably, numbers were higher among those who also filled out personalized questionnaires throughout the process, with 52 percent reporting a weeklong abstinence from smoking and 30 percent having abstained for 30 days. What’s more, researchers observed that the app encouraged most of the participants to continue actively using it, as they “engaged with the app and appeared to remain engaged with the app for a majority of the study duration on average.” Coming on the heels of other recent research showing the successful use of mHealth technologies to combat chronic disease, the Clickotine study—whose authors encourage further research in this area—reinforces the utility of mobile apps for engaging patients in managing their own health care.

Click here for the article from mHealth Intelligence on the smoking-cessation study.

Click here for the smoking-cessation study published in JMIR.

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