This article reports a pilot study of a new smoking cessation website ('StopAdvisor'), which has been developed on the basis of PRIME theory, evidence, web-design expertise and user-testing. The aims were to i) evaluate whether cessation, website usage and satisfaction were sufficiently high to warrant a randomised controlled trial (RCT) and ii) assess whether outcomes were affected by socio-economic status.
This was an uncontrolled pilot study. Two hundred and four adult daily smokers willing to make a serious quit attempt were included. All participants received support from 'StopAdvisor', which recommends a structured quit plan and a variety of evidence-based behaviour change techniques for smoking cessation. A series of tunnelled sessions and a variety of interactive menus provide tailored support for up to a month before quitting through until one-month post-quit (http://www.lifeguideonline.org/player/play/stopadvisordemonstration). The primary outcome was self-report of at least 1month of continuous abstinence collected at 2months post-enrolment and verified by saliva cotinine or anabasine. Usage was indexed by log-ins and page views. Satisfaction was assessed by dichotomous ratings of helpfulness, personal relevance, likelihood of recommendation and future use, which were collected using an online questionnaire at 2months post-enrolment. Outcomes according to socio-economic status were assessed.
At 8weeks post-enrolment, 19.6% (40/204) of participants were abstinent according to the primary outcome criteria (95% C.I.=14.1% to 25.1%). Participants viewed a mean of 133.5 pages (median=71.5) during 6.4 log-ins (median=3). A majority of respondents rated the website positively on each of the four satisfaction `ratings (range=66.7% to 75.3%). There was no evidence of an effect of socio-economic status on abstinence (OR=1.01, C.I.=0.50-2.07), usage (page-views, t(202)=0.11, p=.91; log-ins, t(202)=0.21, p=.83), or satisfaction (helpfulness, OR=1.09, C.I.=0.41-2.88; personal relevance, OR=0.55, C.I.=0.20-1.56; recommendation, OR=0.98, C.I.=0.34-2.81; use in future, OR=1.45, C.I.=0.49-4.27).
The systematic application of theory, evidence, web-design expertise, and user-testing has resulted in a website that shows sufficiently promising efficacy and usability to warrant evaluation in a RCT. The website appears to be similarly effective and acceptable to users across the social spectrum.
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