Open Access Study protocol

Efficacy of a mobile application for smoking cessation in young people: study protocol for a clustered, randomized trial

Empar Valdivieso-López12, Gemma Flores-Mateo2*, Juan-Domingo Molina-Gómez23, Cristina Rey-Reñones24, María-Luisa Barrera Uriarte25, Jordi Duch6 and Araceli Valverde7

Author Affiliations

1 Centre d’Atenció Primària Bonavista, Direcció d’Atenció Primària Tarragona, Institut Català de la Salut, Tarragona, Spain

2 Unitat de Suport a la Recerca Tarragona - Reus, Institut Universitari d’Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol (IDIAP Jordi Gol), Tarragona, Spain

3 Departamento Informática Primaria Camp de Tarragona, Institut Català de la Salut, Tarragona, Spain

4 Centre d’Atenció Primària Llibertat, Direcció d’Atenció Primària Tarragona, Institut Català de la Salut, Reus, Spain

5 Centre d’Atenció Primària Torreforta - La Granja, Direcció d’Atenció Primària Tarragona, Institut Català de la Salut, Tarragona, Spain

6 Departament d’Enginyeria Informàtica i Matemàtiques, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

7 Agència de Salut Pública de Catalunya. Departament de Salut. Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:704  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-704

Published: 1 August 2013



Tobacco consumption is the most preventable cause of morbidity-mortality in the world. One aspect of smoking cessation that merits in-depth study is the use of an application designed for smartphones (app), as a supportive element that could assist younger smokers in their efforts to quit. To assess the efficacy of an intervention that includes the assistance of a smoking cessation smartphone application targeted to young people aged 18 to 30 years who are motivated to stop smoking.


Cluster randomised clinical trial. Setting: Primary Health Care centres (PHCCs) in Catalonia. Analyses based on intention to treat. Participants: motivated smokers of 10 or more cigarettes per day, aged 18 to 30 years, consulting PHCCs for any reason and who provide written informed consent to participate in the trial. Intervention group will receive a 6-month smoking cessation programme that implements recommendations of a Clinical Practice Guideline, complemented with a smartphone app designed specifically for this programme. Control group will receive the usual care. The outcome measure will be abstinence at 12 months confirmed by exhaled-air carbon monoxide concentration of at least 10 parts per million at each control test.


To our knowledge this is the first randomised controlled trial of a programme comparing the efficacy of usual care with a smoking cessation intervention involving a mobile app. If effective, the modality could offer a universal public health management approach to this common health concern.

Trial registration


Randomized controlled trial; Smoking cessation; Technology; Primary health care