A WeChat-based smoking cessation intervention for Chinese smokers: a feasibility study
WeChat is the largest social media platform in China, yet few WeChat-based smoking cessation interventions have been investigated to date. The objective of this study was to develop and test the feasibility of a WeChat-based smoking cessation intervention for smokers in China. Participants were recruited using WeChat and were then randomized into one of three groups: the Standard Group, the Enhanced Group, and the wait-list Control Group. Feasibility indicators including program reach, recruitment rate, recruitment efficiency, cost per person, attrition rate, intervention message exposure, group discussion utilization rate, intervention message engagement, satisfaction, and the likelihood of recommending to others were measured with assessed. Analyses included Chi-square and Fisher exact test, as well as analysis of variance test. A responsive participant is defined as a participant that responded to a certain assessment. A total of 1,132 individuals connected with ("friended") our project on WeChat between July 1 and August 5, 2019. Of these, 403 were eligible to participate, consented, and completed the baseline assessment. As a result, 136, 135, and 132 smokers were randomly assigned to the Standard Group, the Enhanced Group, and the Control Group, respectively. The total program recruitment rate was 35.6% and the attrition rate was 46.4%. The program cost was $0.85 per person. All responsive participants read at least one message during the intervention and engaged with intervention messages 56.8% of the time. Most responsive participants reported being very or somewhat satisfied, highly or somewhat engaged, and were willing to recommend our program to others. This study demonstrated the feasibility of a smoking cessation interventions using WeChat. The program could be expanded to deliver smoking cessation interventions to a large population of smokers.