Introduction: Smoking-cessation follow-up care after hospitalization is known to be effective. Cost-effective and disseminable interventions adoptable by hospitals are needed.
Setting/participants: Fourteen hundred eighty-eight current smokers recruited during a tertiary care hospital stay were randomly assigned to Usual Care (UC) or Usual Care plus Web-Based Intervention (WI). Data were collected in 2011-2013 and analyzed in 2014-2015.
Intervention: UC provided brief bedside advice to quit, a quit plan template, and quitline contact information. WI included access to a website with asynchronous e-message communication with a tobacco counselor, use of interactive self-assessments, helpful cessation information, and access to additional web resources, as well as automated e-mail messages tailored for health concern and readiness to quit.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported 30-day abstinence at 6 months was the primary outcome; a subset was verified by saliva cotinine.
Results: Six-month follow-up was completed by 83% of participants. No difference was found between study arms for self-reported abstinence rates in intent-to-treat (25.4% WI vs 26.8% UC) and complete case (31.3% WI vs 31.4% UC) analyses. Reduced smoking was reported by 45.5% (WI, n=276) and 47% (UC, n=296) of non-abstinent responders (p=0.59). Using a 10-ng/mL cotinine cut off, abstinence was verified in 52.1% of WI and 62.5% of UC (p=0.11). Significant covariates associated with abstinence at 6 months were being male, not smoking during hospitalization, being very confident in quitting, planning to quit/stay quit, smoking fewer days in the past 30 days, fewer years of smoking, and having cerebrovascular or connective tissue rheumatic disease as primary hospital diagnosis.
Conclusions: Lack of difference between treatment arms suggests a strong effect for UC, WI was not effective, or both. Low intervention engagement may be partially responsible. Self-reported abstinence rates were relatively high in both arms, although the biochemically verified rates indicate over-reporting of abstinence. These findings suggest brief bedside counseling for all hospitalized smokers is beneficial.