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. 2013 Sep 24;2(2):e37.
doi: 10.2196/resprot.2786.

Share2Quit: Web-Based Peer-Driven Referrals for Smoking Cessation

Free PMC article

Share2Quit: Web-Based Peer-Driven Referrals for Smoking Cessation

Rajani S Sadasivam et al. JMIR Res Protoc. .
Free PMC article


Background: Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Effective Web-assisted tobacco interventions are often underutilized and require new and innovative engagement approaches. Web-based peer-driven chain referrals successfully used outside health care have the potential for increasing the reach of Internet interventions.

Objective: The objective of our study was to describe the protocol for the development and testing of proactive Web-based chain-referral tools for increasing the access to, a Web-assisted tobacco intervention system.

Methods: We will build and refine proactive chain-referral tools, including email and Facebook referrals. In addition, we will implement respondent-driven sampling (RDS), a controlled chain-referral sampling technique designed to remove inherent biases in chain referrals and obtain a representative sample. We will begin our chain referrals with an initial recruitment of former and current smokers as seeds (initial participants) who will be trained to refer current smokers from their social network using the developed tools. In turn, these newly referred smokers will also be provided the tools to refer other smokers from their social networks. We will model predictors of referral success using sample weights from the RDS to estimate the success of the system in the targeted population.

Results: This protocol describes the evaluation of proactive Web-based chain-referral tools, which can be used in tobacco interventions to increase the access to hard-to-reach populations, for promoting smoking cessation.

Conclusions: Share2Quit represents an innovative advancement by capitalizing on naturally occurring technology trends to recruit smokers to Web-assisted tobacco interventions.

Keywords: Web-assisted tobacco interventions; peer-driven chain referrals; recruitment; respondent-driven sampling.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Equation for covariance between sample units in a chain-referral design.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Peer-referral “Lifecycle” of a single hypothetical smoker through Share2Quit Intervention: 1: Seeds or peer navigator consents to be in the study and refers smokers from his network using S2Q tools. The system contacts the referred smokers and prompts them to register. 2: The referred smokers register on the system and consents to become a peer navigator (Wave 1 recruit). 3: The Wave 1 recruit then refers smokers from their social network and similarly the system prompts these smokers to register. 4: The referred smokers then registers on the system (Wave 2 recruit). 5: The chains progress until the target sample size is reached.

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