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Smokers Do Use Smoking Cessation Apps in Apple App Stores and Google Play: But Do They Get the Right Help? a Cross-Country Research Findings

Hundreds of smartphone smoking cessation apps are available but who uses them? New research insight!

 
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Sydney, Australia -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/10/2014 -- Apple and Android (Google Play) app stores users are downloading smoking cessation apps and other health related apps, and frequently use them, this is the first study that recruits research participants directly from app stores and examines the feasibility of using smartphone apps as a health research tools, stated Sydney University researchers in JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2014;2(1):e4 .

[Who Uses Smoking Cessation Apps? A Feasibility Study Across Three Countries via Smartphones. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.2841]

This study app was able to reach smokers in the countries included in this study (Australia, UK, US). Participants were similar in age and number of previous quitting attempts, and most sought smoking cessation help only in this new medium and not from professionals. This provides an opportunity to cross-country utilize smartphone apps for health.

“There are hundreds of pro-smoking apps, some claiming that they can help in quitting, and research studies investigating the quality of smartphone smoking cessation apps, found that most of the apps in Apple app store and for Android devices were of low quality and not utilizing evidence based proven quitting method. Therefore, efforts are needed to bring evidence-based smoking cessation materials into this new medium.” Says Nasser Bindhim the leading researcher.

There were 50.2% of participants that used health related apps in the past, and of those, about 89.4% used them at least weekly, but 77.5% never checked the credibility of the health app publisher. The authors pointed out “this still poses a problem since many studies indicate low reliability and quality in all health related apps covering such topics as smoking, asthma, cancer, and pain management.”

The study also were looking for the best app store to research health research apps and found that even though Android OS users are double the Apple OS users, due to the fact that some Android devices are very inexpensive compared to Apple devices, we assume that some Android users are not recognizing it as a smartphone and are therefore not interested in apps, or maybe they do recognize it, but just do not have a need for the apps.” The study discussed.

The authors concluded, “This exploratory feasibility study shows that smartphone apps are a promising medium to reach smokers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

For more information about this study please contact Nasser BinDhim at nbin6641@uni.sydney.edu.au by Email.