Web-based interventions intended to help smokers quit can be effective and may be a viable option for connecting with young adult smokers, according to new research published in the online journal JMIR Research Protocols.

The study measured the usage patterns over six months among 5,983 newly registered users of BecomeAnEx.org, a smoking cessation program created by Truth Initiative®. While young adult users were less likely to visit and use specific features of the site than users aged 35 and older, over half of visitors during the period of the study were young adults.    

“Online intervention tools can be critical to helping smokers quit,” Jennifer Cantrell, Director of Evaluation Science and Research at Truth Initiative and lead author of the study, said.

While young adults are more likely to use the Internet in general, and to attempt to quit smoking, they are less likely to seek assistance while trying to quit, creating challenges to developing effective online cessation tools. Past research has shown that online intervention programs can be useful in helping adults quit smoking.

 “These findings suggest that young adults may be going online for help quitting, but distinctive approaches may be needed to engage this population once they reach cessation websites. Providing tools that capitalize on young adult developmental needs, such as the desire to explore new experiences and peer influence, may be valuable strategies,” Cantrell said.

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