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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

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Understanding Internet “Health Seekers” to Broaden the Reach and Effectiveness of Tobacco Cessation Services

Susannah Fox, BA, Pew Internet & American Life Project, 1615 L Street, NW Suite 700, Washington, DC, DC 20036, Jessie Saul, PhD, Research Department, Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco, Two Appletree Square, 8011 34th Avenue South, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55425, and Alan S. Peters, MTTS, Counseling and Community Management,, 1 Appleton St, 4th fl, Boston, MA 02116.

Objective: "The number of online health seekers looking for quit smoking assistance continues to grow. To meet their needs, tobacco cessation professionals need to understand who they are, how to reach them, what online features and services they are currently using, and the types of services they will want to use in the future."

Methods: "Research indicates that a large portion of the U.S. population turns to the internet for help in making health care decisions, and for support in changing behavior. This includes quitting the use of tobacco. A May 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicates that 79% of American Internet users (age 18+) have searched for information about at least one of 16 health topics online, and 7% specifically for information about quitting smoking (female Internet users are twice as likely as males to have looked for such information). Hundreds of thousands of Internet users turn to online support communities for support to change unhealthy behaviors. At one such service, QuitNet, over 100,000 people each year participate in quit smoking support groups."

Results: "Panelists will present results from studies conducted by Pew about Internet health seekers, and by MPAAT on the reach and demographics of its online tobacco cessation service. Detailed descriptive and quantitative data on QuitNet 's global community of users (from over 160 countries) will be presented as a case study in how the Internet can build and sustain a community of tobacco quitters."

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