Online Communities for Quitting

Smoking cessation success with accountability to online community

(RxWiki News) Quitting smoking is tough work. Engaging in an online community may help people change their smoking habits.

A recent study followed 13,174 smokers in a quit smoking website. Results showed that constant engagement in the website could help people quit.

"Quit smoking today."

Ralf Schwarzer, PhD, professor of psychology at Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, led the investigation.

For the study, 13, 174 users of web-based smoking cessation programs in Germany from 2009-2011 provided their information for analysis.

The web-based smoking cessation programs allowed users to post online each smoke-free day they had, post online messages or donate to the program.

Participants who logged his or her smoke free days slowly declined over the ten weeks from 28 percent on day one to 8 percent on day 70.

Authors concluded that smoking cessation efforts should engage quitters in an online community where they can be accountable and watch their progress.

Smoking cessation efforts that are directed towards specific personality traits may not be able to provide the highest quit smoking success rates.

The physical action of online engagement changes the behavioral process for smokers and that kind of intervention may provide better quit rates in the long run.

This study was published in September in Preventive Medicine. No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
September 17, 2012