Mobile Applications for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence
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Purpose of Review
Smoking remains a leading preventable cause of premature death in the world; thus, developing effective and scalable smoking cessation interventions is crucial. This review uses the Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials (ORBIT) model for early phase development of behavioral interventions to conceptually organize the state of research of mobile applications (apps) for smoking cessation, briefly highlight their technical and theory-based components, and describe available data on efficacy and effectiveness.
Our review suggests that there is a need for more programmatic efforts in the development of mobile applications for smoking cessation, though it is promising that more studies are reporting early phase research such as user-centered design. We identified and described the app features used to implement smoking cessation interventions, and found that the majority of the apps studied used a limited number of mechanisms of intervention delivery, though more effort is needed to link specific app features with clinical outcomes. Similar to earlier reviews, we found that few apps have yet been tested in large well-controlled clinical trials, although progress is being made in reporting transparency with protocol papers and clinical trial registration.
ORBIT is an effective model to summarize and guide research on smartphone apps for smoking cessation. Continued improvements in early phase research and app design should accelerate the progress of research in mobile apps for smoking cessation.
Photography by Ali Yahya