Quit Smoking with Online Help

Smoking cessation online program StopAdvisor may turn out to be a highly effective tool

(RxWiki News) Quitting smoking is extremely difficult for most people, and more methods are needed to help people of all backgrounds to kick the habit to save their lives. A new Internet tool was designed through trial and error to work with smokers optimally.

Researchers released information that outlines how they developed a new online smoking cessation tool. The next step is to test its effectiveness and then release it to the public.

"Ask your doctor about online smoking cessation tools."

Robert West, PhD, professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies, and Susan Michie, PhD, professor of Health Psychology, both of University College in London, teamed up to evaluate the Internet smoking cessation tool StopAdvisor.

The developers of StopAdvisor used the ‘open-source’ software LifeGuide, which means that changes can be made in the software coding to customize it and make it function better for users.

From the get-go, StopAdvisor was meant to be tweaked through user feedback until it was the most effective tool it could be.

Smokers can begin using StopAdvisor before they are ready to quit smoking. The software is designed to help prepare people with steps, advice, personalized sessions and interactive menus for two to 14 days before their big quit date.

Serious analysis was conducted to make StopAdvisor as practical and helpful for users as possible. Researchers used 19 theoretical propositions, 26 web design principles, 33 evidence or theory-based behavior change techniques and nine principles taken from user feedback through the testing process.

The great thing about StopAdvisor is that it is available to anyone who can access the Internet.

User testing was completed to ensure that it was designed to be useful to any smoker regardless of education and socioeconomic status.

According to the authors, “To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to be fully transparent about the content and development of a population-reach behavior change intervention.”

Right now StopAdvisor is being tested carefully to see what kinds of results it gets with helping people quit smoking before it is widely recommended to the public. 

This study was published in Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research, May 2012. No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
June 13, 2012