Quit Tobacco! New Recommendation for Internet-based Interventions

A clock face that reads 'Time to quit smoking'.The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends internet-based interventions to increase tobacco use cessation. Evidence shows the interventions increase cessation among adults interested in quitting when measured six or more months following intervention. This recommendation updates and replaces the 2011 CPSTF finding of insufficient evidence for this intervention approach.

A team of specialists in systematic review methods and smoking cessation research, practice, and policy selected and evaluated the following published review:

McCrabb S, Baker AL, Attia J, Skelton E, Twyman L, et al. Internet-based programs incorporating behavior change techniques are associated with increased smoking cessation in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2019:53(2):180-95.

What are internet-based interventions to stop tobacco use?

These internet-based interventions use websites to provide evidence-based information, strategies, and behavioral support to motivate and assist tobacco users interested in quitting. Interventions include interactive features, tailored guidance, or counseling. They may be developed for specific populations and may also use text messaging, telephone calls, or medications.

These internet-based interventions could be combined with other CPSTF-recommended cessation interventions, such as quitlines, mobile phone-based interventions, and policies to reduce patient out-of-pocket costs for these treatments. All CPSTF recommendations for tobacco cessation interventions are online.

Why is this important?

Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. It causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Although the percentage of adults who smoke is at an all-time low nationally, 34 million adults still smoke. More than 16 million people live with at least one disease caused by smoking, and 58 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke. Smoking cessation improves health status, reduces the risk of premature death, and can add as much as a decade to life expectancy.

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