We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a community health worker (CHW) led smoking cessation intervention, supplemented by text messages, and tailored to an individual’s readiness to quit.
We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (April 2018 – August 2019) in adult smokers residing in a semi-urban region of India. Participants in the intervention arm received CHW-led home visits and had the option of choosing to receive regular text messages. The dose and content of CHW counseling and text messages were tailored to the participant’s readiness to quit. The control group received brief education only. Primary outcome was biochemically verified smoking cessation at the end of 12 months. Both intention-to-treat and as-treated analyses were performed.
A total of 238 (mean age 43±12.3 years, male 96.2%) participants were enrolled; 151 (64%) in the intervention arm and 83 (35.4%) in the control arm. At 12 months, 31 (20.5%) participants in the intervention arm and 9 (10.8%) in the control arm quit smoking (absolute risk difference=9.7%; RR=1.69; 95% CI: 0.04–71.33, p=0.74). In the as-treated analysis, 17 (36.9%) of the 46 participants who received optimal dose of the intervention quit smoking.
CHW-led home-based counseling, supplemented by regular text messages, led to an increase in quit rates for smoking, especially among those exposed to a higher dose of the intervention. However, the difference in cessation rates was not statistically significant. Future studies should consider testing mobile application-based multimedia messaging with larger populations, as a supplement to CHW-based counseling.