BACKGROUND: Smoking in pregnancy is a major international public health problem. Self-help support (SHS) increases the likelihood of women stopping smoking in pregnancy and delivering this kind of support by text message could be a cost-effective way to deliver SHS to pregnant women who smoke. SHS delivered by text message helps non-pregnant smokers to stop but the currently available message programmes are not appropriate for use in pregnancy. A randomised controlled trial (RCT) has demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of using a programme called 'MiQuit' to text SHS support to pregnant women who smoke. Another pilot RCT has shown that it would be feasible to run a larger, multi-centre trial within the UK National Health Service (NHS). The aim of this third RCT is to complete MiQuit's evaluation, demonstrating whether or not this is efficacious for smoking cessation in pregnancy.
METHODS/DESIGN: This is a multi-centre, parallel-group RCT. Pregnant women aged over 16 years, of less than 25 weeks' gestation who smoke one or more daily cigarettes but smoked at least five daily cigarettes before pregnancy and who understand written English and are being identified in 24 English antenatal care hospitals. Participants are randomised to control or intervention groups in a 1:1 ratio stratified by gestation (< 16 weeks versus ≥ 16 weeks). All participants receive a leaflet on stopping smoking during pregnancy; they are also able to access standard NHS smoking cessation support. Intervention group women also receive the 12-week MiQuit programme of tailored, interactive text message, and self-help cessation support. Women are followed up by telephone at 4 weeks after randomisation and 36 weeks' gestation. The RCT will recruit 692 women (346 per group), enabling a 95% confidence interval for the difference in quit rates to be estimated within ± 3%. To determine whether or not MiQuit helps pregnant smokers to stop, intervention group quit rates from this trial will be combined with those from the two earlier trials in a Trial Sequential Analysis (TSA) meta-analysis to derive a pooled efficacy estimate.
DISCUSSION: If effective, MiQuit will be a cheap, cost-effective method to help pregnant women to stop smoking.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03231553 . Registered on 20 July 2017.