Effectiveness of mobile applications to quit smoking: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Tob Prev Cessat. 2020 Nov 10;6:62. doi: 10.18332/tpc/127770. eCollection 2020.


INTRODUCTION: Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable mortality. The use of mobile phones has grown exponentially, becoming a powerful tool to be used in health care.

METHODS: In order to assess the effectiveness of mobile phones to quit smoking, we have carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials evaluating interventions based on mobile applications for smartphones, that were not a smaller version of the same application, against other types of therapy. To address this, a bibliographic search was carried out in MEDLINE, EMBASE and COCHRANE LIBRARY. To obtain the combined effect, the relative risk and the 95% confidence interval were used. A heterogeneity and sensitivity analysis were also conducted.

RESULTS: A total of nine studies were identified, but five were excluded. Qualitative review was performed with four selected studies, but quantitative analysis was carried out for only three, given the impossibility of calculating the RR in one of the studies. After combining the results, an RR of 0.901 (95% CI: 0.57-1.423) was calculated comparing the effectiveness of mobile applications versus others type of interventions. This measure was robust, as shown by the sensitivity analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: According to the results, it cannot be concluded that apps are effective for quitting tobacco. There are very few clinical trials published evaluating the effectiveness of mobile applications compared to other alternatives. Several clinical trials are still in progress, therefore their results have not been included in the present meta-analysis.

PMID:33241162 | PMC:PMC7682489 | DOI:10.18332/tpc/127770