The iQUITT Study

Internet and Telephone Treatment for Smoking Cessation

Funded in 2004, this study was one of the first large-scale research studies to evaluate the effectiveness of an Internet quit smoking intervention alone and in combination with proactive telephone counseling. Current smokers were intercepted as they searched for quit smoking information online and were recruited to participate in this trial. A total of 2,005 current smokers were randomized to a Basic Internet comparison condition, an Enhanced Internet site with tailored content and a large social network, or the Enhanced Internet site plus proactive telephone counseling. Some of the major findings from this trial are:

  • A combined phone and Internet intervention outperformed both the Basic and Enhanced interventions early in the study, yielding quit rates of approximately 20% versus 10% in the other two study conditions. By 18 months, quit rates were comparable across treatment conditions.
  • The number of times users visited the enhanced Internet site emerged as a significant predictor of whether they were able to quit successfully.
  • A cost effectiveness analysis found that the Basic Internet treatment had the lowest cost per quitter, but the Enhanced Internet plus phone had the lower incremental cost per additional quitter. As the number of logins increased, the cost per quitter dropped across all interventions, demonstrating the important role of optimizing adherence to Internet interventions.
  • Use of other forms of treatment alongside Internet programs was common among study participants, and should be carefully measured and included in analyses of Internet trials.