Targeted smoking cessation for dual users of combustible and electronic cigarettes: a randomised controlled trial

Lancet Public Health. 2021 Jul;6(7):e500-e509. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30307-8.


Background: Although many smokers use electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to quit smoking, most continue to smoke while vaping. This dual use might delay cessation and increase toxicant exposure. We aimed to test the efficacy of a self-help intervention designed to help dual users to quit smoking.

Methods: In this three-arm randomised controlled trial we recruited individuals in the USA using Facebook and multimedia advertisements. Included participants were 18 years or older, smoked at least weekly in the preceding year, and vaped at least weekly in the preceding month. We used computer generated randomisation with balanced-permuted blocks (block size 10, with 2-4-4 ratio) to allocate participants to assessment only (ASSESS group), generic smoking cessation self-help booklets (GENERIC group), or booklets targeting dual users (eTARGET group). Individuals in the generic or targeted intervention groups received monthly cessation materials for 18 months, with assessments every 3 months for 24 months. The main outcome was self-reported 7-day point-prevalence smoking abstinence at each assessment point. All randomly allocated participants were included in primary analyses using generalised estimating equations for each of 20 datasets created by multiple imputation. Analysis of the χ2s produced an F test. The trial is registered with, NCT02416011, and is now closed.

Findings: Between July 12, 2016, and June 30, 2017, we randomly assigned 2896 dual users (575 to assessment, 1154 to generic intervention, and 1167 to targeted self-help). 7-day point-prevalence smoking abstinence increased from 14% at 3 months to 42% at 24 months (F7,541·7=67·1, p<0·0001) in the overall sample. Targeted self-help resulted in higher smoking abstinence than did assessment alone throughout the treatment period (F1,973·8=10·20, p=0·0014 [α=0·017]). The generic intervention group had abstinence rates between those of the assessment and targeted groups, but did not significantly differ from either when adjusted for multiple comparisons (GENERIC vs eTARGET F1,1102·5=1·79, p=0·18 [α=0·05]; GENERIC vs ASSESS F1,676·7=4·29, p=0·039 [α=0·025]). Differences between study groups attenuated after the interventions ended.

Interpretation: A targeted self-help intervention with high potential for dissemination could be efficacious in promoting smoking cessation among dual users of combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Cancer Institute.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaping
  • Young Adult

Associated data