Web programme helps smokers quit the habit – study

13 Jan 2011

Internet-based guidance combined with personalised phone counselling may help smokers kick the habit for good, a study by researchers in the US suggests.

Smokers who participated in a web-based cessation programme and received calls from counsellors had nearly double the quit rates after a year and a half than smokers who just used the web programme, Reuters reported the study as saying.

Counselling via telephone had been one of the more helpful components in helping study particpants stop smoking, the study reported.

The study used QuitNet.com, a website with more than 60,000 monthly users, and whose owner had used one of the study’s authors as a consultant.

Two thousand smokers took part in the study. Researchers randomly assigned each of them to a group. One group received counselling by phone and a premium QuitNet membership that let the participants set dates on which to quit and track their motivations. Another group received the premium QuitNet membership only, and the final group used a static website, made for the study, that offered general advice on how to stop smoking.

After 18 months, 15pc of the phone and premium net program participants reported not smoking since the study began. Eight per cent of the premium program users said they had not smoked since the study started, compared to 6pc of the basic program users.

The study has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Tina Costanza