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Researchers launch online stop smoking program

Posted: January 18, 2016 6:00 a.m.

(R to L) Phd. candidate Holly A. Parkerson, and professor Gordon Asmundson (Psychology department).
(R to L) Phd. candidate Holly A. Parkerson, and professor Gordon Asmundson (Psychology department). U of R Photography

Most people who try to quit smoking don’t have access to one-on-one support to guide them through the challenges of meeting their goal.

It's National Non-Smoking Week in Canada Jan. 17 - 23, and the U of R is helping people to quit smoking.

The free Guide To Quit program was designed to simulate one-on-one support using an online format.

In preparation for participants’ “quit-day”, the Guide helps them identify their reasons for quitting and develops their expectations for the difficulties ahead. Support is tailored to the individual’s needs and works to help build their confidence and plan for stressful situations that might increase their cravings.
 
The online program is able to do all of this by tabulating information provided by the individual every time they log on and uses an algorithm to provide both advice and a specific plan to help that person stay smoke-free.
 
While many internet-based interventions sites exist few clinical trials have been conducted to assess their effectiveness. For researchers Holly Parkerson, psychology Phd. candidate and Psychology professor Gordon Asmundson the Guide To Quit program is an opportunity to pilot test online smoking cessation intervention with a Canadian sample. It also allows them to look at potential differences in the program’s effectiveness between participants with and without chronic pain.

“There are several possible advantageous for taking the online approach,” says Asmundson. “One is accessibility to anybody who has online access. It is an alternative to some of the other available programs that either require attendance or participation or require medication. There is also the ability to progress at a pace that is appropriate for the individual."

To conduct this study Parkerson and Asmundson are looking for 800 daily smokers, 400 with chronic pain and 400 without chronic pain, to participate in the Guide To Quit program.

“The reaction has been very good. We’ve had over 200 people who have enrolled in the program. Many of those have completed the program at this point, but we are hoping more people will enrol,” says Asmundson.

The program is free for all Canadians who are daily smokers, between the ages of 18 - 65, are located in Canada, have internet access, and are willing to make a serious attempt at quitting.

Guide to Quit is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the University of Regina.

If you are interested in participating please visit guidetoquit.ca.

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