Elite Research Scholarships

Cognitive & Behavioural support for cigarette smokers trying to quit

Cigarette smoking results in approximately 15,000 deaths per year in Australia and is the leading cause of preventable mortality and morbidity in the developed world. Most smokers want to quit, but the vast majority of quit attempts – even those that involve pharmacotherapy – ultimately fail. Developing effective smoking cessation treatments has enormous potential to improve public health. In the context of a NH&MRC-funded randomized controlled trial, we plan to evaluate a cognitive and behavioural support program designed to assist smokers attempting to quit. This study uses a sophisticated, state-of-the-art field-based observational research methodology, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). Participants will use study-specific modified mobile telephones to monitor their smoking, withdrawal symptoms, craving, mood and social situations in near real-time over five weeks, one week prior to an assigned quit date and four weeks after this date. Abstinence will be assessed at regular study visits. Using this design, we will test a series of both primary efficacy and mechanism-of-action hypotheses. Developing new, efficacious smoking cessation treatments that are accessible to a wide range of smokers has the potential to reduce deaths and disease caused by tobacco.


Stuart Ferguson