Which eHealth interventions are most effective for smoking cessation? A systematic review

Huyen Phuc Do, Bach Xuan Tran, Quyen Le Pham, Long Hoang Nguyen, Tung Thanh Tran, Carl A. Latkin, Michael P. Dunne, Philip R.A. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: To synthesize evidence of the effects and potential effect modifiers of different electronic health (eHealth) interventions to help people quit smoking. Methods: Four databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Embase, and The Cochrane Library) were searched in March 2017 using terms that included “smoking cessation”, “eHealth/mHealth” and “electronic technology” to find relevant studies. Meta-analysis and meta-regression analyses were performed using Mantel–Haenszel test for fixed-effect risk ratio (RR) and restricted maximum-likelihood technique, respectively. Protocol Registration Number: CRD42017072560. Results: The review included 108 studies and 110,372 participants. Compared to nonactive control groups (eg, usual care), smoking cessation interventions using web-based and mobile health (mHealth) platform resulted in significantly greater smoking abstinence, RR 2.03 (95% CI 1.7–2.03), and RR 1.71 (95% CI 1.35–2.16), respectively. Similarly, smoking cessation trials using tailored text messages (RR 1.80, 95% CI 1.54–2.10) and web-based information and conjunctive nicotine replacement therapy (RR 1.29, 95% CI 1.17–1.43) may also increase cessation. In contrast, little or no benefit for smoking abstinence was found for computer-assisted interventions (RR 1.31, 95% CI 1.11–1.53). The magnitude of effect sizes from mHealth smoking cessation interventions was likely to be greater if the trial was conducted in the USA or Europe and when the intervention included individually tailored text messages. In contrast, high frequency of texts (daily) was less effective than weekly texts. Conclusions: There was consistent evidence that web-based and mHealth smoking cessation interventions may increase abstinence moderately. Methodologic quality of trials and the intervention characteristics (tailored vs untailored) are critical effect modifiers among eHealth smoking cessation interventions, especially for web-based and text messaging trials. Future smoking cessation intervention should take advantages of web-based and mHealth engagement to improve prolonged abstinence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2065-2084
Number of pages20
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2018


  • Computer
  • Effectiveness
  • Smoking cessation intervention
  • Website
  • ehealth
  • mhealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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