Feasibility of a smartphone-basedtobacco treatment for HIV-infected smokers

Jonathan Shuter, Ryung S. Kim, Lawrence C. An, Lorien C. Abroms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Cigarette smoking is common among persons living with HIV (PLWH) in the United States. It is the leading cause of mortality in this group, and efforts to promote cessation have been largely unsuccessful. Methods: From 2015 to 2017, we performed a randomized controlled trial of Positively Smoke Free-Mobile (PSF-M) versus standard care. PSF-M is a mobile Web site that offers a 42-day text message-based quit-smoking program with smartphone features including quit-day selection/calendar, educational/motivational videos, and HELP button for cravings. Results: One hundred individuals enrolled, 48 were randomized to PSF-M (mean age = 45 years, 54% male, 81% black, 31% Latino) and 52 to the standard care condition. All participants were offered a 3-month supply of nicotine patches. Participants randomized to the mobile intervention visited the PSF-M home page a mean of 83 times, viewed 5.6/8 videos, logged in on 13 of 42 possible days, and received 131 texts. Among them, 77% tapped HELP for cravings, and craving response options were used by the following proportions: phone-a-friend, 58%; play-a-game, 29%; play-a-song, 4%. Older age and nonblack race were both associated with higher levels of engagement with the site. Of participants, 61% rated PSF-M very or extremely helpful, and 98% would recommend PSF-M to PLWH family or friends. Abstinence at 3 months, quit attempts, and daily cigarette intake all favored PSF-M over standard care but did not achieve statistical significance in our pilot sample. Conclusions: Smartphone-based tobacco treatment for PLWH was feasible and achieved moderate-high rates of engagement and satisfaction in a middle-aged, ethnic or racial minority group in the poorest urban community in the United States. Implications: Cigarette smoking has emerged as the leading killer of PLWH. Behavioral interventions have achieved only limited success in promoting cessation in this population. In this study, we explore the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a multimodal, Web-based, quit-smoking intervention delivered to PLWH smokers via their smartphones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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