Last updated on June 2019

Smartphone Application-based Smoking Cessation Programme Among Female Smokers


Brief description of study

This project aims to develop a smartphone application to deliver a gender-specific programme for female smokers in Hong Kong. Through the smartphone application, we expect that our gender-specific smoking cessation programme can reach more female smokers in Hong Kong. The objectives is to promote smoking cessation among female smokers in Hong Kong.

Detailed Study Description

This is a one-year project, and it will be divided into 2 Phases. Phase I will focus on translating our gender-specific smoking cessation programme into a smartphone application. In Phase II, the investigators will promote the smartphone application to female smokers in the community.

Phase I: Translating our gender-specific smoking cessation programme into a smartphone application To translate our gender-specific smoking cessation programme into a smartphone application, an expert panel will be formed. The panel members include a chair professor, an associate professor, an assistant professor, a research assistant professor and a postdoctoral fellow, with all of whom have considerable experience in conducting studies on smoking cessation and tobacco control. The content of the smartphone application will be designed according to the gender-specific smoking cessation programme delivered by our women Quitline. In particular, the smartphone application aims to help female smokers abstain from cigarettes by their readiness to quit. For female smokers who are in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stage, the smartphone application will motivate them to quit by instructing them to list out the reasons for quitting, and providing them information about the damaging effects of smoking on health, especially those are specific to women. Regarding female smokers in the preparation stage, the smartphone application will assist them to individualize their own quit plan by computerized instructions, and provide generic tips how they can achieve abstinence step-by-step. Concerning female smokers in the action stage, skills for overcoming cigarette craving and withdrawal symptoms will be presented. In addition, hazardous effects of smoking will pop-up in their smartphones to remind them of smoking cessation throughout their quitting process. To address the needs and concerns of female smokers, gender-specific elements have been integrated into the smartphone application. In particular, the smartphone application will correct their misconceptions that smoking can be a method to control body weight and manage stress. At the same time, the smartphone application will display information about proper weight-loss strategies and relaxation techniques. Female smokers who need more intensive counseling can also contact our Quitline via the smartphone application.

Phase II: Promoting the smartphone application for female smokers in the community In order to promote the smartphone application for female smokers, the investigators plan to recruit 30 students from the University of Hong Kong to join this project. All recruited students will be invited to participate in a 1-day training workshop organized by our team. During the training workshop, the students will be educated on smoking hazards, the basic principles of smoking cessation and tobacco control policies.

Female smokers will be recruited in smoking hotspots where rubbish bins with a collector of cigarette butts are nearby. The trained university students will approach female smokers at the smoking hotspots, and deliver a small souvenir to them. The souvenir is a pack of tissue paper, with its packaging containing smoking cessation messages and the QR code of the smartphone application. If the smokers accept the souvenir, the students will then introduce this project. For female smokers who are interested to join, the students will assist them to download the smartphone application, briefly go through its content, and encourage them to use it. To remind the female smokers to continuously use the smartphone application for smoking cessation, warning messages about the hazardous effects of smoking will pop up weekly in their smartphones.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03718169

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Recruitment Status: Open


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