Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of a text messaging intervention for smoking cessation in Vietnam
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Institute of Social and Medical Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam
School of Public Health, The George Washington University, Washington, United States
Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Thai Nguyen, Vietnam
School of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, United States
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A284
Text messaging (SMS) smoking cessation programs can reach a large amount of cigarette smokers and are effective in increasing quit rates, but their efficacy has not yet been explored in Vietnam.

To develop and test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effect of a bidirectional SMS cessation intervention among smokers in Vietnam.

A two-arm pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted in Ha Noi to compare a 6-week bidirectional SMS cessation program (intervention) and weekly text assessments of smoking status (control) among 98 adult male cigarette/waterpipe smokers. Baseline, 6 weeks, and 3 months surveys were conducted. Outcomes were feasibility, acceptability, biochemically verified 7-day point prevalence abstinence, and smoking behavior.

100% enrolled participants retained over the intervention. Participants’ assessment of the SMS program was positive: 90% reported that the program was “very helpful” or “somewhat helpful”; 98% were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the program; 96% reported the program was easy to use and learned a lot from the program; 94% reported that the text messages motivated and helped them to quit. Biochemically verified abstinence was statistically higher in intervention group than the control group at 6 weeks (20.8% vs. 2.0%; p<0.01), but decreased and not significantly different at 3 months (12.5% vs. 5.9%; p>0.05). Mean number of cigarettes smoked per day reduced significantly: 15.4 cigarette and 14.3 times of waterpipe use among intervention group at baseline decreased to 5.8 cigarettes and 5.3 times of waterpipe use at 3 months.

The SMS smoking cessation program was feasible, acceptable and showed positive preliminary effectiveness to increase quit rates among Vietnamese smokers. A large scale expansion of the SMS cessation program is needed to provide support for smoking cessation in Vietnam.