SmartQuit is a smoking cessation mobile application (app) based on acceptance and commitment therapy that is focused on helping users accept cigarette cravings and let them pass.
SmartQuit was developed based on prior technology-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions. SmartQuit was refined with feedback from research staff and community smokers. Users move at their own pace through different activities that increase motivation, help them develop a quit plan, accept and cope with urges to smoke, recovering from relapses, and track progress. Participants can earn virtual “badges” for reaching milestones and share their progress on social media.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Young Adults (18-30)
Randomized controlled pilot trial of a smartphone app for smoking cessation using acceptance and commitment therapy.
Bricker JB, Mull KE, Kientz JA, et al. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2014. 143(1): 87-94. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.07.006
Summary: Researchers used internet ads and press releases to recruit 196 daily smokers who were interested in quitting. Participants were randomized into a group that received the SmartQuit app or the National Cancer Institute’s QuitGuide app that was based on smokefree.gov. At baseline, participants completed assessments of their smoking history and nicotine dependence. A follow-up survey administered at two months after enrollment assessed participants’ treatment satisfaction, self-reported app utilization, acceptance of cravings, and self-reported 30-day abstinence. Rates of 30-day cessation in the SmartQuit group were 13% compared to 8% in the QuitGuide group, but the study was not adequately powered to test the statistical significance of differences in quit rates. Participants in the SmartQuit group reported opening the app significantly more times on average than in the QuitGuide group. Participants’ acceptance of cravings increased only in the SmartQuit group.
Take Away: SmartQuit shows evidence of improving user engagement and acceptance of cravings than another widely available app.
Single-arm trial of the second version of an acceptance & commitment therapy smartphone application for smoking cessation.
Bricker JB, Copeland W, Mull KE, et al. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2017. 170: 37-42. PMID: 27870987
Summary: Researchers used online ads and recommendations from employers to recruit 99 smokers who plan to quit to use SmartQuit 2.0. SmartQuit 2.0 put more emphasis on the ACT components of the program and guided users through activities sequentially. Participants were assessed at baseline about smoking behavior and at two-months after enrollment on their app acceptance, seven-day point prevalence abstinence, 30-day point prevalence abstinence, and smoking behavior. Most participants reported that they were satisfied with the app (84%), would recommend it to a friend (73%), found it useful (81%), and easy to use (93%). Of all participants who responded to the follow-up survey (85%), 21% had been abstinent for seven days, 11% had been abstinent for 30 days, and 73% had reduced their smoking. Of participants who completed the program (24%), 33% had been abstinent for seven days, 28% had been abstinent for 30 days, and 88% had reduced their smoking.
Take Away: Participants found SmartQuit 2.0 to be acceptable and achieved moderate rates of abstinence and high rates of smoking reduction. Rates of abstinence and smoking reduction were higher among participants that completed the program.
Using SmartQuit, an acceptance and commitment therapy smartphone application, to reduce smoking intake.
Singh S, Starkey NJ, Sargisson RJ. Digital Health. 2017. 3:1-9. doi: 10.1177/2055207617729535
Summary: Researchers conducted a repeated measures study in New Zealand to evaluate the effect of SmartQuit on cravings and cigarette intake. Researchers used fliers in clinics, social media, and newspaper advertisements to recruit 10 people who smoked and wanted to quit. Before receiving access to SmartQuit, participants completed a control period where they were instructed to smoke as they normally would and record numbers of cigarettes smoked and cravings experienced. Participants texted a researcher how many cigarettes they smoked and cravings they experienced daily. Participants received access to SmartQuit once they stabilized cravings and cigarette consumption. Participants were asked to use the app as they normally would and report cravings in the app. Researchers only contacted participants who had not used the app for at least 7 days because SmartQuick tracks cravings. Participants stopped using SmartQuit once they reached their quit date. Participants reported the number of cigarettes they smoked per day at 1, 3, and 13 months. Researchers analyzed data from 10 participants for the baseline and intervention periods, 9 participants at 1 month, and 6 participants at 3 and 13 months. Three participants reported smoking 0 cigarettes per day at 1 month and 2 of these maintained these cessation attempts to later follow-up assessments. Analyses indicated cigarette consumption at the end of the baseline period was significantly higher than cigarette consumption at 1 month and 13 months. There were no significant differences in cravings over time.
Take Away: SmartQuit shows evidence of helping people who smoke to reduce their smoking but did not help reduce cravings.