Comparative analysis of smoking cessation smartphone applications

Smartphone applications (apps) offer a potentially cost-effective and a wide-reach aid to smoking cessation. In 2012, a content analysis of smoking cessation apps suggested that most apps did not adopt behaviour change techniques (BCTs), which according to previous research had suggested would promote higher success rates in quitting smoking.

This study examined whether or not this situation had changed by 2014 for free smoking cessation apps available in the Apple App Store. It also compared the use of engagement and ease-of-use features between the two time points.

The authors used 137 free apps available in the Apple App Sore in 2014 to establish a framework for the presence or absence of evidence-based BCTs, and engagement and ease-of-use features. The results from the 2014 data were compared with a similar exercise conducted on 83 free apps available in 2012.

There was little evidence of improvement in the use of evidence-based BCTs in free smoking cessation iPhone-based apps between 2012 and 2014.