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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Saturday, July 15, 2006 - 8:30 AM

The Real U: a Web-Based Intervention to Reduce College Smoking

Lawrence C. An, MD, General Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Mayo Mail Code: 741 Mayo Building, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Objective: The college years represent an opportunity to intervene to limit escalation in cigarette use and encourage early cessation. This is a two-group prospective randomized controlled trial testing an online intervention for college students at a large Midwestern university.

Methods: Potential participants (any smoking past 30 days) were identified via internet health screening survey and invited to enroll. Individuals randomized to the RealU intervention group were offered a $10 incentive to make weekly visits to the study site to (1) track their cigarette use, (2) take an interactive quiz to learn about their lifestyle and smoking habits, and (3) view an on-line college life magazine with general lifestyle and smoking related content. Outcomes include 7-day abstinence at weeks 6, 12, and 20 evaluation points and 30-day abstinence at week 20 (with carbon monoxide (CO) validation).

Results: Invitation email was sent to 25,000 UM undergraduates yielding 6492 completed surveys (26% response) identifying 1857 smokers (29% prevalence) of whom 517 enrolled (usual care=260, RealU=257). Weekly participation exceeded 89% in the intervention group (range 89%-98%). The prevalence of 7-day abstinence from smoking in the RealU group was higher than in the control group at 6 (42% vs. 25%, p<0.001), 12 (42% vs. 33%, p<0.05), and 20 weeks (59% vs. 38%, p<0.001). The rate of 30-day abstinence at week 20 was also higher in the RealU (40%) vs. usual care (23%, p<0.001). CO validation showed low rates of underreporting (<1%) with no difference between the groups.