The development and acceptability testing of an app-based smart survey system to record smoking behaviour, use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and e-cigarettes

Yue Huang, Joanne Emery, Felix Naughton, Sue Cooper, Lisa McDaid, Anne Dickinson, Miranda Clark, Darren Kinahan-Goodwin, Ross Thomson, Lucy Phillips, Sarah Lewis, Sophie Orton, Tim Coleman

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Objective: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) helps people stop smoking. Monitoring treatment adherence is important as poor adherence to NRT limits its effectiveness. As e-cigarettes contain nicotine, their use (‘vaping’) is likely to affect both NRT use and smoking. We wished to measure adherence to NRT, and to investigate relationships between NRT, vaping and smoking so we developed ‘NicUse’, a smartphone App linked to a cloud database for collecting data relevant to NRT adherence. We report user-acceptability and investigate data validity among pregnant people by comparing heaviness of smoking reported to NicUse surveys with contemporaneous exhaled carbon monoxide readings. Results: Thirty five pregnant women participating in a pilot study were asked to install and use NicUse on their smartphones. 32/35 (91%) logged into NicUse, 31 (89%) completed one or more surveys, and 22 (63%) completed these on ≥ 20 of 28 study days. Twenty-four gave end-of-study user acceptability ratings; 23 (96%) agreed or strongly agreed NicUse was ‘Easy to use’ and ‘Instructions were clear’. There was a strong correlation between the number of daily cigarettes reported on NicUse and exhaled CO readings taken on study Day 7 (Pearson’s r = 0.95, p < 0.001). NicUse appears highly acceptable, and smoking data reported to it shows validity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022


  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Medication adherence
  • Nicotine replacement therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Smartphone app
  • Smoking
  • Survey
  • e-cigarettes

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