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Low Income Smokers Can Quit Smoking Using Interactive Website 'StopAdvisor'

First Posted: Sep 25, 2014 05:49 AM EDT

A new study reveals that lower-income smokers are more likely to quit smoking if they use the new interactive website - 'StopAdvisor'.

Due to the nicotine addiction, developed by persistent smoking, it is hard to quit the unhealthy habit. According to the World Health Organization, smoking is to be blamed for the death of nearly five million people each year. For most, the crucial aspect of quitting smoking is to look to alternate ways to deal with stressful situations without smoking.

Researchers at the University College London reveal that by using the new interactive website 'StopAdvisor', the low income smokers are nearly 36 percent more likely to stop smoking, as compared to using the static information site.  This finding of this randomized controlled trail was based on the study conducted on 4,613 smokers who were recruited through a notice of the SmokeFree website, a public resource for smokers attempting to quit.

Among the total 4,613 smokers who were a part of the study, nearly 2,142 of them were classified as lower income group who had never worked, were unemployed for long term or from routine or manual occupations. The rest had reputed managerial, professional and intermediate occupations. 

The interactive website 'StopAdvisor' was designed for the less affluent smokers, by conducting user-testing especially with these smokers.  The site replicates the support offered by the expert stop-smoking advisors that have been successful in NHS.

"Going to see a specialist stop-smoking advisor of the kind that is provided free of charge and easily accessible through one's GP or the NHS SmokeFree website remains the best way of stopping smoking," said lead author Dr Jamie Brown of UCL's Department of Epidemiology & Public Health. "But for the many smokers who do not want to do this, StopAdvisor should improve their chances of success."

The researchers observed that among the less affluent smokers who made an attempt to quit smoking during the study trial, nearly 8.3 percent of them were successful in their attempt and they had used StopAdvisor as compared to 6.1 percent who used static information site. They, however, noticed no significant difference among the affluent smokers with 12 percent smokers being successful in quitting the unhealthy addiction whether they used either of the websites.

"StopAdvisor could have an important impact on public health," explains senior author Professor Robert West of UCL's Department of Epidemiology & Public Health. "An effect of as little as 1% on six-month sustained abstinence rates would result in at least 3 additional years of life for every hundred 40-year-old smokers who use the resource."

Due to the positive result achieved using StopAdvisor, the Public Health England is currently investigating the opportunity to turn this into an interactive stop smoking programme.

The trial was funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative, a consortium of 16 UK health research funders.

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