The burden of tobacco-associated disorders is prevalent worldwide. Over the years, many innovative internet-based approaches have been utilized with variable success to quit tobacco. Though the effectiveness of internet-based and face-to-face interventions on quitting smoking are very well reported in the literature, due to limitation in methodology and limited sample size, it is required to integrate and analyze these studies' findings to reach a single conclusion. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the internet as an intervention approach versus face-to-face interaction on reducing tobacco use as control among adults.
A systematic search was performed through various electronic databases such as Medline, PsychInfo, PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and Academia. Reference lists of the eligible articles were also screened. Full-text articles were included as per eligibility criteria (PICO framework). No ethnicity restriction was applied.
A total of 13 studies were selected for meta-analysis, with 3852 and 3908 participants in intervention and control groups respectively. Forest plot favours the intervention group at one month follow up for tobacco quitting (OR: 2.37, CI: 1.86-3.02, P-0.00001, I2 =0%), at three months (OR: 1.88, CI: 1.48-2.40, P-0.00001, I2 =42%) at six months (OR: 2.02, CI: 1.64-2.50, P-0.00001, I2 =38%) and at 1 year of follow-up (OR: 1.43, CI: 1.18-1.74, P-0.00001, I2 = 36%) comparing to control group.
Internet and web-based interventions are highly useful in tobacco quitting at one month, three months, six months, and one year of follow-up compared to face-to-face interaction or no intervention, although the level of evidence was moderate. Additionally, limited availability of trials in developing countries, arising need for research of internet use in developing countries to quit tobacco.
Prospero Registration number- PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020214306