Smokers’ user experience of smoking cessation apps: A systematic review

Mengying Zhang, Maria Wolters, Siobhán O'connor, Yajing Wang, Lawrence Doi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives: To explore how smokers view common functions and characteristics of smoking cessation apps.

Design: Systematic review

Search sources: CINAHL PLUS, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, IEEE Xplore, ACM Digital Library, and Google Scholar

Review methods: Seven digital databases were searched separately using relevant search terms. Search results were uploaded to Covidence. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were identified with the expert team in advance. Titles, abstracts, and full texts were screened by two reviewers independently. Any disagreements were discussed in research meetings. Pertinent data were extracted and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Findings were presented in a narrative approach.
Results: 28 studies were included in this review. The overarching themes were app functionality and app characteristics. Under app “functionality”, six subthemes emerged: 1) education; 2) tracking; 3) social support; 4) compensation; 5) distraction, and 6) reminding. Under “app characteristics”, five subthemes emerged: 1) simplification, 2) personalisation, 3) diverse content forms, 4) interactivity, and 5) privacy and security.

Conclusion: Understanding user needs and expectations is crucial for developing a programme theory for smoking cessation app interventions. Relevant needs identified in this review should be linked to broader theories of smoking cessation and app-based intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105069
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of medical informatics
Early online date15 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • smoking cessation
  • mHealth
  • mobile app
  • user experience
  • smoker


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