A theory-based video messaging mobile phone intervention for smoking cessation: randomized controlled trial

J Med Internet Res. 2011 Jan 21;13(1):e10. doi: 10.2196/jmir.1553.


Background: Advances in technology allowed the development of a novel smoking cessation program delivered by video messages sent to mobile phones. This social cognitive theory-based intervention (called "STUB IT") used observational learning via short video diary messages from role models going through the quitting process to teach behavioral change techniques.

Objective: The objective of our study was to assess the effectiveness of a multimedia mobile phone intervention for smoking cessation.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 6-month follow-up. Participants had to be 16 years of age or over, be current daily smokers, be ready to quit, and have a video message-capable phone. Recruitment targeted younger adults predominantly through radio and online advertising. Registration and data collection were completed online, prompted by text messages. The intervention group received an automated package of video and text messages over 6 months that was tailored to self-selected quit date, role model, and timing of messages. Extra messages were available on demand to beat cravings and address lapses. The control group also set a quit date and received a general health video message sent to their phone every 2 weeks.

Results: The target sample size was not achieved due to difficulty recruiting young adult quitters. Of the 226 randomized participants, 47% (107/226) were female and 24% (54/226) were Maori (indigenous population of New Zealand). Their mean age was 27 years (SD 8.7), and there was a high level of nicotine addiction. Continuous abstinence at 6 months was 26.4% (29/110) in the intervention group and 27.6% (32/116) in the control group (P = .8). Feedback from participants indicated that the support provided by the video role models was important and appreciated.

Conclusions: This study was not able to demonstrate a statistically significant effect of the complex video messaging mobile phone intervention compared with simple general health video messages via mobile phone. However, there was sufficient positive feedback about the ease of use of this novel intervention, and the support obtained by observing the role model video messages, to warrant further investigation.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number: ACTRN12606000476538; http://www.anzctr.org.au/trial_view.aspx?ID=81688 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5umMU4sZi).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cell Phone*
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Videotape Recording*
  • Young Adult