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Mobile app effective in smoking cessation, triples chance of success

quit smoking
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A new mobile application, developed under the leadership of researchers from the University of Oulu, has proven to be an effective aid for long-term smokers attempting to quit. A study conducted at Oulu University Hospital found that using the application tripled the success rate of smoking cessation compared to using written materials.

The study, appearing in The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, involved 201 smokers who participated in screening as part of Finland's first pilot study on lung cancer CT screening, which began in Oulu in November 2022. Lung cancer CT screening has been shown to reduce both lung cancer and overall mortality in smokers, while also providing an opportune moment for smoking cessation interventions.

All participants had a long and heavy smoking history (≥15 cigarettes per day for at least 25 years or ≥10 cigarettes per day for at least 30 years). Participants were randomized into two groups: the , which used the mobile application, and the control group, which received written cessation materials in line with the national Current Care Guidelines.

After a three-month follow-up, 20% of those using the application had , compared to 7% in the group that received written materials. This result was retained at the end of the six-month follow-up period.

The results indicate that active use of the application significantly improved the chances of quitting smoking. Even among those who did not completely quit smoking, a larger portion of mobile application users had significantly reduced their smoking compared to the .

The mobile application developed by the researchers is based on . It aims to increase awareness of health-deteriorating behaviors and support the individual's active role in regulating their behavior. Features include weekly symptom surveys, mindfulness exercises, and a virtual support person. The application is currently available only for research purposes.

This newly published study is reportedly the world's first randomized clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy of a mobile application for smoking cessation in conjunction with lung cancer CT screening. According to the researchers, the application can be easily integrated into the lung cancer screening process.

In further studies, researchers will focus on investigating the efficacy of the outside the context of lung cancer screening and in combination with other smoking cessation methods.

More information: Sanna Iivanainen et al, Smartphone application versus written material for smoking reduction and cessation in individuals undergoing low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer: a phase II open-label randomised controlled trial, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2024.100946

Provided by University of Oulu
Citation: Mobile app effective in smoking cessation, triples chance of success (2024, May 31) retrieved 24 July 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-05-mobile-app-effective-cessation-triples.html
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