Project Overview +

This study examines the impact of "status-assessing" email messages sent to individuals who decided to quit smoking and chose a date to quit. Participants receive email messages 3 and 5 weeks after their self selected quit dates, asking them to click on a URL link that matches their current smoking status (quit, tried but relapsed, never quit). Participants who click on a link receive information targeted to their current smoking status.

Aims +

Assessing the feasibility of using email prompts to assess the up-to-date quit status of participants in a smoking cessation program.

Participants +

Participants enrolled in Phase 2 of Project Quit.

Intervention +

This study focuses on a single factor embedded in Phase II of Project Quit (an online smoking cessation research study offered by CHCR). This study factor does not change the core Project Quit intervention; it is an additional element seen after all of Project Quit's intervention components are delivered.

Participants are randomly assigned to a control group or an email intervention group. Participants in the intervention group receive regularly scheduled email inquiries during the weeks following their intended quit date. Each email asks participants to click on one hyperlink (out of a set of 2-3 links) that indicates whether they have quit smoking, relapsed, or never tried to quit.

The program then uses these links to identify and deliver tailored relapse prevention messages (for those not smoking) or support messages (for those who are still smoking). Our hypothesis is that such status-tailored feedback may be particularly valuable in helping participants overcome challenges during the critical initial few weeks after their intended quit date.

Findings +

261 (38%) participants responded to at least one email and provided status information. In a repeated measures regression analysis of the people (n=101) who reported still smoking at least once, current smokers who reported having previously quit during the program but relapsing thereafter reported significantly lower success perceptions than those who had never quit (standardized beta=-0.57, p<0.001). The percentage reduction in number of cigarettes smoked by current smokers (both types) was also highly predictive of success perceptions (beta=0.85, p<0.001), but this variable only weakly mediated the negative effect of relapse.

Conclusion +

Smokers who attempt to quit as part of a smoking cessation program but quickly relapse perceived themselves as significantly less successful than participants who never attempted to quit smoking. This difference in self-evaluation has important implications for program intervention design.

Cancer Risk Perceptions: Highlighting Changes and Time in the Picture

09/01/2006 - 08/31/2008


National Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator:

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD