A randomized controlled trial of a smoking cessation smartphone application with a carbon monoxide checker

NPJ Digit Med. 2020 Mar 12;3:35. doi: 10.1038/s41746-020-0243-5. eCollection 2020.


Evidence of the long-term efficacy of digital therapies for smoking cessation that include a smartphone application (app) is limited. In this multi-center randomized controlled trial, we tested the efficacy of a novel digital therapy for smoking cessation: the "CureApp Smoking Cessation (CASC)" system, including a CASC smartphone app, a web-based patient management PC software for primary physicians, and a mobile exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) checker. A total of 584 participants with nicotine dependence were recruited from October 2017 to January 2018, and allocated 1:1 to the CASC intervention group or the control group. Both groups received a standard smoking cessation treatment with pharmacotherapy and counseling for 12 weeks. Meanwhile, the intervention group used the CASC system, and the control group used a control-app without a mobile CO checker, each for 24 weeks. The primary outcome was the biochemically validated continuous abstinence rate (CAR) from weeks 9 to 24. The main secondary outcome was an extended CAR from weeks 9 to 52. Except for 12 participants who did not download or use the apps, 285 participants were assigned to the intervention group, and 287, to the control. CAR from weeks 9 to 24 in the intervention group was significantly higher than that in the control group (63.9% vs. 50.5%; odds ratio [OR], 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24 to 2.42; P = 0.001). The CAR from weeks 9 to 52 was also higher in the intervention group than that in the control group (52.3% vs. 41.5%; OR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.11 to 2.16; P = 0.010). No specific adverse events caused by the CASC system were reported. Augmenting standard face-to-face counseling and pharmacotherapy with a novel smartphone app, the CASC system significantly improved long-term CARs compared to standard treatment and a minimally supportive control app.

Keywords: Preventive medicine; Respiratory tract diseases; Risk factors.