Skip directly to search Skip directly to site content
Coming October 2016: The next generation of The Community Guide Preview Now
The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) Go to site home page About the Task Force


Submit your email address to get updates on The Community Guide topics of interest.

Reducing Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Internet-Based Cessation Interventions

Task Force Finding

The Community Preventive Services Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of Internet-based interventions in increasing tobacco use cessation. Evidence was considered insufficient because the included studies observed inconsistent effects on tobacco cessation, and interpretation of the included studies was complicated by:

  1. Differences in Internet-based content, components, and interactions
  2. The frequent provision of evidence-based interventions to the comparison group
  3. Moderate to high rates of loss to follow-up

Read the full Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement for details including implementation issues, possible added benefits, potential harms, and evidence gaps.

Intervention Definition

Internet-based cessation interventions use websites to provide evidence-based information, strategies, and behavioral support to motivate and assist tobacco users interested in quitting. Content may be developed or adapted for specific populations and communities. Content also may be tailored for individuals based on computer algorithms that match services and advice to information provided by the user.

Websites may be interactive, with automated monitoring, feedback, and support features. Coaching, counseling and social support may be made available through e-mails, chat rooms, or bulletin boards.

Internet-based cessation interventions may be coordinated with additional interventions, such as quitlines or provision of medications.

About the Systematic Review

This Task Force recommendation was made in December 2011. It is based on evidence from a systematic review published in 2010 (Civljak et al., search period through June 2010) combined with more recent evidence (search period June 2010-August 2011).

This review was conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Subscribe External Web Site Icon to be notified as new materials on this topic become available.

image of earthFind a Research-tested Intervention Program (RTIP) External Web Site Icon about the use of internet-based cessation interventions to reduce tobacco use (What is an RTIP?).

Supporting Materials

Publication Status

Full peer-reviewed articles of this systematic review will be posted on the Community Guide website when published. Subscribe External Web Site Icon to be notified when we post these publications or other materials. See our library for previous Community Guide publications on this and other topics.


Civljak M, Sheikh A, Stead LF, et al. Internet-based interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 9, Art. No.: CD007078. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007078. pub3.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure: internet-based cessation interventions (abbreviated). Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: December 2012