Comparison of an automated smartphone-based smoking cessation intervention versus standard quitline-delivered treatment among underserved smokers: protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Jennifer I. Vidrine, Ya Chen Tina Shih, Michael S. Businelle, Steven K. Sutton, Diana Stewart Hoover, Cherell Cottrell-Daniels, Bethany Shorey Fennell, Kristina E. Bowles, Damon J. Vidrine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States. Individuals with low socioeconomic status have disproportionately high smoking rates and greater difficulty quitting smoking. Efficiently connecting underserved smokers to effective tobacco cessation programs is crucial for disease prevention and the elimination of health disparities. Smartphone-based interventions have the potential to enhance the reach and efficacy of smoking cessation treatments targeting underserved smokers, but there is little efficacy data for these interventions. In this study, we will partner with a large, local hunger-relief organization to evaluate the efficacy and economic impact of a theoretically-based, fully-automated, and interactive smartphone-based smoking cessation intervention. Methods: This study will consist of a 2-group randomized controlled trial. Participants (N = 500) will be recruited from a network of food distribution centers in West Central Florida and randomized to receive either Standard Treatment (ST, n = 250) or Automated Treatment (AT, n = 250). ST participants will be connected to the Florida Quitline for telephone-based treatment and will receive a 10-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT; transdermal patches and lozenges). AT participants will receive 10 weeks of NRT and a fully-automated smartphone-based intervention consisting of interactive messaging, images, and audiovisual clips. The AT intervention period will span 26 weeks, with 12 weeks of proactive content and 26 weeks of on-demand access. ST and AT participants will complete weekly 4-item assessments for 26 weeks and 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up assessments. Our primary aim is to evaluate the efficacy of AT in facilitating smoking abstinence. As secondary aims, we will explore potential mediators and conduct economic evaluations to assess the cost and/or cost-effectiveness of ST vs. AT. Discussion: The overall goal of this project is to determine if AT is better at facilitating long-term smoking abstinence than ST, the more resource-intensive approach. If efficacy is established, the AT approach will be relatively easy to disseminate and for community-based organizations to scale and implement, thus helping to reduce tobacco-related health disparities. Trial registration: Clinical Trials Registry NCT05004662. Registered August 13, 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Article number563
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge our community partners and the Florida Quitline and thank them for collaborating on this research. We would also like to acknowledge Sarah Jones (Research Applications and Data Coordinator) for her work on this research.

Funding Information:
This research is supported by an award (R01CA231952, Principal Investigators DJV and JIV) from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute. The trial sponsor and contact information: National Cancer Institute, 31 Center Drive, Building 31, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814, email: This funding agency had no role in the design of this study and will not have any role during its execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to submit results. The authors are solely responsible for the design of the research and for the preparation of the manuscript. MSB’s effort is partially supported by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Grant R21-02 and the NCI Support Grant P30CA225520 awarded to the Stephenson Cancer Center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Health disparities
  • Low-socioeconomic status
  • Smoking cessation
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of an automated smartphone-based smoking cessation intervention versus standard quitline-delivered treatment among underserved smokers: protocol for a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this