DESCRIPTION (provided by investigator): There is an important need for
validated, low-cost smoking cessation interventions that can reach large
populations of smokers. Internet-based cessation programs can reach an
increasingly large number of smokers. Approximately one third of all persons
are Internet users; an estimated 8 million of them are cigarette smokers.
Internet-based smoking cessation programs can be interactive, personalize
information based on participant characteristics and interests, provide a high
degree of choice and flexibility, and provide social support from both peers
and professionals. While initial start-up costs can be high, interactive
Internet interventions cost little to maintain, and provide 24-hour/7-day
access to smoking cessation assistance.
We will develop a comprehensive Internet smoking cessation program with three
(a) support for the use of efficacious pharmacological therapies (e.g.,
nicotine replacement therapy and Zyban), (b) a cognitive-behavioral skills
development, and (c) social support (primarily via on-line forums and chat
rooms), and evaluate it in a randomized control trial designed to assess the
impact of the program. The control condition will be an exercise and nutrition
program of proven efficacy (PACE+) designed for Internet use. This program
serves as a credible attention-placebo control.
Approximately 2000 persons will be enrolled from large worksites that provide
intranet links (and high-bandwidth connections) to our website. All assessment
will be accomplished via the Internet and much of the process data--use of
various intervention elements and transcripts of discussion groups--is recorded
and stored automatically. Seven-day point prevalence cessation at three- and
six-month follow-ups will serve as the primary outcomes, augmented by other
prevalence and sustained quit outcomes. A variety of subject characteristics
and process measures will be examined as predictors or mediators. After
outcomes are assessed at six months, participants will be given access to the
contrasting condition and encouraged to enroll. Secondary analyses will examine
the effectiveness of the PACE+ program. The proposed design will provide
important practical information about effectiveness of a low-cost Internet
intervention to assist smokers in stopping smoking.
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