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Pager-assisted smoking cessation treatment

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Timothy Carmody, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2002 (Cycle 11) Grant #: 11RT-0009 Award: $463,689
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Cigarette smoking is the major preventable cause of death in the United States. It has been estimated that more than 420,000 deaths occur each year in this country as a result of tobacco use. The prevalence of smoking in the U.S., which had been decreasing, has now plateaued. Although millions of Americans have quit smoking, approximately one in four continue to smoke. The rate of cigarette smoking is much higher among veterans than in California’s population at large. A majority of smokers who quit relapse within one year. There is a clear need to identify and investigate more effective methods of treating nicotine addiction, particularly those utilizing advances in communication technology. The results of our recent pilot study support the idea that alphanumeric pagers can be used to help smokers to quit smoking and stay quit.

The primary purpose of the proposed study will be to investigate the effectiveness of using alphanumeric pagers to send therapeutic messages to facilitate smoking cessation and relapse prevention. We will enroll 360 current smokers into the study. Two treatment groups will be compared. Both groups will receive nicotine patches and individual smoking cessation counseling. In one group, participants will be provided with alphanumeric pagers and will receive messages on these pagers for 3 months. The therapeutic messages that are sent to participants on these pagers will be matched to stages of change and will focus on motivation enhancement, quitting skills training, and relapse prevention. We will evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions at their conclusion (3 months) and again 12 months after enrollment.

The use of alphanumeric pagers in smoking cessation treatment represents a merger between communication technology and behavior-change strategies designed to promote smoking cessation, behavioral self-regulation, maintenance of coping skills, and relapse prevention. It also represents a creative approach to the problem of how medication treatment for smoking cessation can be enhanced without adding more clinic visits, which is often a difficulty for smokers with low socio-economic status.
Publications

Pager-assisted smoking cessation
Periodical: TRDRP Annual Report to the State of California Legislature Index Medicus:
Authors: Carmody TP, Lane P, Solkowitz SN, Simon JA ABS
Yr: 2003 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg: