Randomised controlled trial of a just-in-time adaptive intervention (JITAI) smoking cessation smartphone app: the Quit Sense feasibility trial protocol

Felix Naughton, Chloë Brown, Juliet High, Caitlin Notley, Cecilia Mascolo, Tim Coleman, Garry Barton, Lee Shepstone, Stephen Sutton, A Toby Prevost, David Crane, Felix Greaves, Aimie Hope

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INTRODUCTION: A lapse (any smoking) early in a smoking cessation attempt is strongly associated with reduced success. A substantial proportion of lapses are due to urges to smoke triggered by situational cues. Currently, no available interventions proactively respond to such cues in real time. Quit Sense is a theory-guided just-in-time adaptive intervention smartphone app that uses a learning tool and smartphone sensing to provide in-the-moment tailored support to help smokers manage cue-induced urges to smoke. The primary aim of this randomised controlled trial (RCT) is to assess the feasibility of delivering a definitive online efficacy trial of Quit Sense.

METHODS AND ANALYSES: A two-arm parallel-group RCT allocating smokers willing to make a quit attempt, recruited via online adverts, to usual care (referral to the NHS SmokeFree website) or usual care plus Quit Sense. Randomisation will be stratified by smoking rate (<16 vs ≥16 cigarettes/day) and socioeconomic status (low vs high). Recruitment, enrolment, baseline data collection, allocation and intervention delivery will be automated through the study website. Outcomes will be collected at 6 weeks and 6 months follow-up via the study website or telephone, and during app usage. The study aims to recruit 200 smokers to estimate key feasibility outcomes, the preliminary impact of Quit Sense and potential cost-effectiveness, in addition to gaining insights on user views of the app through qualitative interviews.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval has been granted by the Wales NHS Research Ethics Committee 7 (19/WA/0361). The findings will be disseminated to the public, the funders, relevant practice and policy representatives and other researchers.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere048204
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


  • preventive medicine
  • public health
  • qualitative research

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