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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Using the Internet to Understand Smokers' Treatment Preferences: Informing Strategies to Increase ..

Thursday, February 9, 2012  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Westmaas JL, Abroms L, Bontemps-Jones J, Bauer JE, Bade J. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2011 Aug 26;13(3);e58.
This study explored how Internet seekers of cessation information make judgments about their preferences for treatment, and to identify sociodemographic and other predictors of preferences (e.g., age, level of dependence, or timing of quit date). An online survey was completed by 1196 smokers who visited the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO) webpage. Overall, 48% of respondents were "quite a bit” or "very much” interested in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), 45% in a website that provides customized quitting advice, and 37% in prescription medications. Only 11.5% indicated similar interest in quitlines, and 17% in receiving customized text messages. Further analysis showed that interest in treatments formed three clusters that seemed to depend on the level of interpersonal interaction or support the treatment entails. Only 5% of smokers were "quite a bit” or "very much” interested in interpersonal-supportive methods (e.g., telephone counseling, web-based peer support, and in-person group programs), while 25% were interested in nonsocial-informational methods (e.g., Internet programs, tailored emails, informational booklets), and 33% were interested in pharmacotherapy (e.g., NRT, bupropion, and varenicline). One surprising finding was that greater age was associated with a stronger interest in nonsocial-informational methods. Interest in interpersonal-supportive methods was greater if smokers had used a quitline before, or were planning to quit earlier rather than later. Study authors conclude that the results can be used to more effectively target and increase demand for these treatments among smokers searching the Internet for cessation information.

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