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Innovative Web-Based Intervention for Smoking Cessation among College Students

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: Innovative Web-Based Intervention for Smoking Cessation among College Students
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43TR000358-01
Award Amount: $150,000.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer death. While daily tobacco consumption in the United States has declined to 18.1%,1, 2 nondaily smoking (smoking on some days but not every day) is increasing,3 particularly among young adults.2 Yet, nondaily smokers are typically excluded from cessation trials.4 Because smokers who quit by 30 have cancer death risk similar to non-smokers,5 promoting cessation early in life is critical.6 U.S. colleges and universities, enrollinggt14 million students/year,7 are an important venue to reach young adult smokers. Two-year college students have a particularly high rate of smoking and thus are an important priority population for tobacco control efforts.6, 8, 9 Unfortunately, young smokers and nondaily smokers (representing half of young adult smokers10), respectively, are less likely to seek assistance in quitting;11, 12 thus, innovative strategies are needed to encourage and assist smoking cessation early in life, particularly among those who may not be motivated to quit or seek assistance.11, 12 Web-based interventions offer promise in helping college students to quit, based on their high rates of Internet use and website capabilities in providing individually tailored cessation messages. A novel approach to delivering cessation information via the web might be to address broader lifestyle issues and apply market research strategies such as those used by the tobacco industry to identify market segments of smokers (groups of people withsimilar interests, goals and values) in order to target and engage these groups more effectively. Applying this strategy to an online cessation intervention should enhance both intervention use and processing of intervention messages, leading to greater abstinence rates. Thus, our specific aims are: (1) to develop and refine a tailored web-based intervention for smoking cessation targeting young adults with a range of smoking levels (i.e., nondaily, low-level smokers to daily, heavy smokers) attending university or community/technical college; (2) to test the usability, acceptability, and feasibility of the intervention among a sample of university and community/technical college student smokers; and (3) to determine the potential effect of the interventionon smoking cessation, smoking level, quit attempts, and contextual factors (mood, alcohol use, social factors) among a sample of university and community/technical college student smokers. This research will be addressed through four phases: (1) web-basedprogram development; (2) expert feedback; (3) usability testing among 10 students, and (4) a 6-week trial among 200 young adults at two college campuses (university; community/technical college) with primary outcomes of usability, acceptability, and feasibility, and secondary outcomes of abstinence, smoking level, and quit attempts at end-of-treatment and 6-week follow-up This will lead to a Phase II SBIR application testing intervention effectiveness and elaboration of our commercialization plan, subsequently supporting the Phase III application and commercialization of this program. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Creating an innovative smoking cessation strategy that addresses the broad range of smoking behaviors (from daily to nondaily or social smoking) is critical in preventing continued smoking among young adults. Our proposal utilizes a tailored web-based intervention and a targeted approach based on market research to increase message relevance and enhance intervention engagement in order to alterthe social norms around smoking and ultimately effect cessation. The proposed study can contribute significantly to the field of cessation among youth by determining the feasibility of a multi-media Web-based program as a viable and effective solution andshows promise for commercialization of the program by leveraging the incentive structure to local businesses hoping to promote their services/products and appealing to colleges/universities looking for cost-effective ways to control tobacco use. PHS 398/2590 (Rev. 06/09) Page Continuation Format Page

Principal Investigator:

Michael Sokol

Business Contact:

Michael Sokol
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 127046851
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No