A smartphone application based on acceptance and commitment therapy was more efficacious for smoking cessation than one based on US clinical practice guidelines, according to study results published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers conducted a blinded, parallel, 2-group randomized clinical trial comparing 2 smartphone applications in adults who were attempting to quit smoking (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02724462). Adult smokers were randomly assigned to groups using smartphone applications based on either acceptance and commitment therapy (iCanQuit, which taught acceptance of smoking triggers) or US clinical practice guidelines (National Cancer Institute QuitGuide, which taught avoidance of smoking triggers). Successful cessation, defined as self-reported 30-day point prevalence abstinence, was compared between groups after 12 months. 

Of the 2415 adult cigarette smokers, approximately 70% were women, and 69% were White. For the primary outcome of 30-day point prevalence abstinence at the 12-month follow-up, participants using the acceptance and commitment therapy application had 1.49 times higher odds of quitting smoking compared with participants using the US clinical practice guideline application (95% CI, 1.22-1.83; P <.001). 

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“This trial provides evidence that, compared with a USCPG-based smartphone application, an ACT-based smartphone application was more efficacious for quitting cigarette smoking and thus can be an impactful treatment option,” the researchers wrote. 

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Bricker JB, Watson NL, Mull KE, Sullivan BM, Heffner JL. Efficacy of smartphone applications for smoking cessation: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 21, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.4055