Are online interventions for smoking cessation effective alternatives to face-to-face interventions? A retrospective analysis
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Spanish Association Against Cancer, Madrid, Spain
Publication date: 2023-04-25
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement):A47
Since 2020, the Spanish Association Against Cancer-Madrid has offered digital resources to the population interested in quitting smoking and has implemented 12-week online combined pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions (O-CPBI) for smoking cessation. This study explores whether the O-CPBI could be as effective as face-to-face combined pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions (FTF-CPBI).

Material and Methods:
An observational, retrospective, and longitudinal study was conducted. We included adults (≥18 years old) who attended a smoking cessation therapy at the Spanish Association Against Cancer between September 2018 and June 2021. We compared the rates of abstinence from tobacco use among subjects that attended an O-CPBI or an FTF-CPBI. Both interventions consisted of ten group sessions. The abstinence from smoking was measured at the end of therapy, and six months, and one-year after enrollment. This study is complementary to the research presented at the last congress of the National Committee for the Prevention of Smoking in Spain.

Eighty-one adults attended an O-CPBI and 127 an FTF-CPBI (mean age 50.3±10 and 52.9±9.6 years old, respectively, p=0.060). The proportion of women was higher in the O-CPBI than in the FTF-CPBI (80% vs. 64%, p=0.008). Mental disorders were more frequent in the FTF-CPBI group (29% vs. 16%, p=0.032); however, in the O-CPBI group, the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) scores were above the given cut-off points (13-15) more frequently (45% vs. 28%, p=0.026). Overall, subjects with a mental disorder were less abstinent. In both groups, the use of varenicline was associated with higher odds of abstinence (OR 10.9 [IC 95% 2.3-52.03] and OR 2.6 [IC 95% 1.1-6.0], respectively). Smoking cessation rates were similar among both groups at the end of therapy (79% vs. 73%, p=0.192) six months (53% vs. 58%, p=0.32) and one year after enrollment (44% vs. 41%, p=0.66, respectively). In general, subjects with a history of cancer were less abstinent at the end of therapy (p=0.03); however, this difference was not observed in consecutive follow-ups (p=>0.05).

The O-CPBI is an effective alternative to FTF-CPBI for smoking cessation. However, more studies must be conducted to evaluate which populations respond best to the interventions studied.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.