Text to Quit China: An mHealth Smoking Cessation Trial

Am J Health Promot. 2017 May;31(3):217-225. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.140812-QUAN-399. Epub 2016 Jan 5.


Purpose: To assess the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a text message-based smoking cessation intervention in China.

Design: Study design was a randomized control trial with a 6-month follow-up assessment of smoking status.

Setting: Zhejiang, Heilongjiang, and Shaanxi provinces in China provided the study setting.

Subjects: A total of 8000 adult smokers in China who used Nokia Life Tools and participated in phase 2 (smoking education via text message) of the study were included.

Intervention: The high-frequency text contact (HFTC) group received one to three messages daily containing smoking cessation advice, encouragement, and health education information. The low-frequency text contact (LFTC) group received one weekly message with smoking health effects information.

Measures: Our primary outcome was smoking status at 0, 1, 3, and 6 months after intervention. Secondary outcomes include participant perceptions of the HFTC intervention, and factors associated with smoking cessation among HFTC participants.

Analysis: Descriptive and χ2 analyses were conducted to assess smoking status and acceptability. Factors associated with quitting were assessed using multiple logistic regression analyses.

Results: Quit rates were high in both the HFTC and LFTC groups (HFTC: 0 month, 27.9%; 1 month, 30.5%; 3 months, 26.7%; and 6 months, 27.7%; LFTC: 0 month, 26.7%; 1 month, 30.4%; 3 months, 28.1%; and 6 months, 27.7%), with no significant difference between the two groups in an intent-to-treat analysis. Attitudes toward the HFTC intervention were largely positive.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a text message-based smoking cessation intervention can be successfully delivered in China and is acceptable to Chinese smokers, but further research is needed to assess the potential impact of this type of intervention.

Keywords: Health focus: smoking control; Outcome measure: behavioral; Research purpose: intervention testing; Setting: state/state; Smoking Cessation, Text Message Intervention Research, Health Education, Tobacco Control, mHealth, China, Behavior Change Intervention, Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research; Strategy: skill building/behavior change and education; Study design: randomized trial; Target population age: adults; Target population circumstances: geographic location.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Text Messaging*