Background: Tobacco is a major public health concern. A 12-week standard smoking cessation program is available in Japan; however, it requires face-to-face clinic visits, which has been one of the key obstacles to completing the program, leading to a low smoking cessation success rate. Telemedicine using internet-based video counseling instead of regular clinic visits could address this obstacle.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of an internet-based remote smoking cessation support program compared with the standard face-to-face clinical visit program among patients with nicotine dependence.
Methods: This study was a randomized, controlled, open-label, multicenter, noninferiority trial. We recruited nicotine-dependent adults from March to June 2018. Participants randomized to the telemedicine arm received internet-based video counseling, whereas control participants received standard face-to-face clinic visits at each time point in the smoking cessation program. Both arms received a CureApp Smoking Cessation smartphone app with a mobile exhaled carbon monoxide checker. The primary outcome was a continuous abstinence rate (CAR) from weeks 9 to 12. Full analysis set was used for data analysis.
Results: We randomized 115 participants with nicotine dependence: 58 were allocated to the telemedicine (internet-based video counseling) arm and 57, to the control (standard face-to-face clinical visit) arm. We analyzed all 115 participants for the primary outcome. Both telemedicine and control groups had similar CARs from weeks 9 to 12 (81.0% vs 78.9%; absolute difference, 2.1%; 95% CI -12.8 to 17.0), and the lower limit of the difference between groups (-12.8%) was greater than the prespecified limit (-15%).
Conclusions: The application of telemedicine using internet-based video counseling as a smoking cessation program had a similar CAR from weeks 9 to 12 as that of the standard face-to-face clinical visit program. The efficacy of the telemedicine-based smoking cessation program was not inferior to that of the standard visit-based smoking cessation program.
Trial registration: University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry: UMIN000031620; https://upload.umin.ac.jp/cgi-open-bin/ctr_e/ctr_view.cgi?recptno=R000035975.
Keywords: digital therapeutics; mHealth; mobile phone; nicotine dependence; smoking cessation; telecare; telemedicine.
©Akihiro Nomura, Tomoyuki Tanigawa, Tomoyasu Muto, Takafumi Oga, Yasushi Fukushima, Arihiro Kiyosue, Masaki Miyazaki, Eisuke Hida, Kohta Satake. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 26.04.2019.