Online smoking cessation interventions in the Netherlands

    Ph.D researcher: Kei Long Cheung

    Supervisor: Hein de Vries

    Co-researchers: Ben Wijnen

    Funding: MIRO – innovation in smoking cessation

    Objective: Tobacco smoking remains a worldwide public health problem, also in the Netherlands. More than 26% of the Dutch adults were categorized as smokers in 2015, of which approximately 74% were daily smokers. Due to the rise of internet usage, internet-based smoking cessation interventions, hereafter online cessation interventions, have great opportunity to enhance smoking cessation. This project aimed to provide an overview of online cessation interventions in the Netherlands, while exploring its effectivity, cost-effectiveness, and theoretical basis.

    Methods: A mixed-method approach was used to identify Dutch online cessation interventions, using: (1) scientific literature search; (2) grey literature search; (3) and Expert input. The Cochrane review was used and updated by two independent researchers, exploring scientific literature, while for the grey literature the researchers conducted a Google search (n=100 websites), screening for titles and first pages. Including expert input, this resulted in six interventions identified in the scientific literature and 39 interventions via the grey literature. The effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, theoretical factors and behavior change techniques used were then extracted for each intervention.

    Findings: Overall, many interventions (45 identified) exists of which only six were included in trials provided data on effectiveness. Four of these were shown to be effective and cost-effective. In the scientific literature, theoretical factors and behavioural change techniques were heavily included in the interventions, whileas interventions in the grey literature were less consistent in the inclusion of these factors and techniques. The internet provides great opportunities to offer various online cessation interventions, yet it is difficult for smokers to distinguish between evidence-based (effective) and non-evidence-based interventions. Hence, clear policy regulations are needed to regulate the proliferation of the evidence-based interventions and to enhance their quality in the Netherlands.


    Cheung, K. L., Wijnen, B.F.M., & de Vries, H. (2017). Online smoking cessation interventions in the Netherlands: effects, cost-effectiveness, and theoretical underpinnings. A mixed-method approach to review. Journal of medical Internet research (accepted).

    Cheung K-L, Wijnen B, Hiligsmann M, Coyle K, Coyle D, Pokhrel S, de Vries H, Präger M, Evers S: The cost-effectiveness of internet-based interventions for smoking cessation in the Netherlands. An analysis based on the EQUIPT ROI model. Addiction (under review).

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