Did You Know? How to Tailor Technology-Based Cessation Programs for Socioeconomically Disadvantaged African American Smokers

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Communication technology-based interventions are increasingly being employed to help smokers quit. Understanding preferences for such strategies among socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers can inform targeted intervention planning. A newly published study examined socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers’ use of and access to communication technology and elucidated preferences for receiving quitting information and support via email and text message. A self-administered survey and focus groups were conducted with a sample of 15 predominantly African American, socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers aged 21-64 years.

Findings included:

·         Smartphone ownership was high, although use of communication-based cessation resources such as web sites and smartphone apps was low.

·         Four themes emerged relevant to preferences for receiving quitting information and support via email and text message: access, appropriateness, intended use, and satisfaction.

·         Although initially participants were mixed in their preferences for receiving emails vs texts, 80% preferred emails over texts when presented with sample emails and text messages containing cessation information.

The researchers concluded that although email and text message strategies may be acceptable to socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers generally, issues such as access and intended use should be considered to inform specific disparity-reducing intervention approaches.

Source: Alcaraz et al. (2018). To Text or Not to Text? Technology-based Cessation Communication Preferences among Urban, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Smokers. Ethnicity & Disease, Jul 12, 28(3), 161-168.

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