Quitline (telephone-based counseling) programs are effective tools for people who are trying to give up smoking, and the evidence for Web-based cessation services is building. Research has found that only 1-2% of adult tobacco users in the United States access state quitlines each year. Also, sustained use of Web-based interventions is low, with most users visiting some cessation websites fewer than three times.
A new analysis indicates that states' Web-based and phone-based tobacco cessation programs can help people quit smoking, but certain personal characteristics may lead individuals to prefer one type of program over the other. Published online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings may help states optimize their tobacco cessation and cancer control programs.
To compare telephone-based quitline and Web-based cessation programs, Antonio Neri, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and his colleagues conducted one of the largest studies to date on the effectiveness of different state tobacco cessation interventions. The researchers provided standardized questionnaires to 4086 cigarette smokers who enrolled exclusively in either telephone-based quitline counseling or Web-based tobacco cessation services in four states in 2011 to 2012. Seven months after enrollment, the team evaluated which individuals achieved 30-day abstinence rates and which program was used.
Dr. Neri said, "Tobacco control programs can use these findings to better target their quit-smoking programs to smokers in their area. The goal is to help people stop smoking and stay tobacco free - it's the most important thing smokers can do for their health, as smoking causes cancer and many other illnesses."