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Web and Computer Programs Effective in Smoking Cessation

However, meta-analysis finds effectiveness falls off in adolescent populations

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Web-based and computer-based smoking cessation programs can be effective in getting people to quit smoking, according to a meta-analysis of clinical trials of those interventions reported in the May 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Seung-Kwon Myung, M.D., of the National Cancer Center in Goyang, South Korea, and colleagues screened 287 articles on randomized clinical trials of Web- and computer-based smoking cessation programs. The researchers conducted a random-effects meta-analysis of 22 of the trials with an aggregate of 29,549 subjects (16,050 in intervention groups, 13,499 in control groups) and at least three months follow-up.

Overall, the researchers found a significant effect on smoking cessation in the intervention groups in comparison to controls (relative risk, 1.44). The Web- or computer-based interventions were similarly effective in comparison to controls -- relative risk of 1.40 among the nine trials employing a Web-based intervention and relative risk of 1.48 among the 13 trials using a computer-based intervention. Analyses of subgroups found similar success rates except for adolescent populations (relative risk, 1.08).

"The meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials indicates that there is sufficient clinical evidence to support the use of Web- and computer-based smoking cessation programs for adult smokers," the authors write.

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