Background: Mobile apps have been considered to provide active and continuous support for smoking cessation. However, it is yet to be known whether a smoking cessation smartphone app improves long-term abstinence rates in nicotine-dependent patients.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the long-term abstinence effect of a novel smartphone app, CureApp Smoking Cessation (CASC), in patients with nicotine dependence.
Methods: In this prospective, interventional, multicenter, single-arm study, we provided the CASC app to all the participants, who used it daily for 24 weeks. The CASC app includes features to maximize the therapeutic effect of pharmacological therapies and counseling at outpatient clinics for smoking cessation. The primary endpoint was a continuous abstinence rate (CAR) from weeks 9 to 24, whereas secondary endpoints were CARs from weeks 9 to 12 and 9 to 52.
Results: Of the 56 adult smokers recruited, 1 did not download the app; therefore, 55 participants constituted the full analysis sample. The CAR from weeks 9 to 24 was 64% (35/55, 95% CI 51%-76%), whereas the CARs from weeks 9 to 12 and 9 to 52 were 76% (42/55, 95% CI 65%-88%) and 58% (32/55, 95% CI 46%-71%), respectively. These CARs were better than the results of the national survey on outpatient clinics with regard to smoking cessation under the National Health Insurance Program and that of the varenicline phase 3 trial in Japan and the United States. There was only 1 participant who dropped out during the 12 weeks of the treatment period. This treatment decreased the scores related to withdrawal and craving symptoms.
Conclusions: The addition of CASC to usual smoking cessation therapies resulted in high CARs, high patient retention rates, and improvement of cessation-related symptoms. The smartphone app CASC is a feasible and useful tool to help long-term continuous abstinence that can be combined with a standard smoking cessation treatment program.
Keywords: digital therapeutics; nicotine dependence; smartphone application; smoking cessation; telemedicine.
©Katsunori Masaki, Hiroki Tateno, Naofumi Kameyama, Eriko Morino, Riri Watanabe, Kazuma Sekine, Tomohiro Ono, Kohta Satake, Shin Suzuki, Akihiro Nomura, Tomoko Betsuyaku, Koichi Fukunaga. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (http://mhealth.jmir.org), 19.02.2019.