A content analysis of smartphone apps for adolescent smoking cessation

Cendrine D. Robinson, Elizabeth L. Seaman, Emily Grenen, Latrice Montgomery, R. Andrew Yockey, Kisha Coa, Yvonne Prutzman, Erik Augustson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Adolescent cigarette smokers have an increased risk of sustained smoking into adulthood. Smartphone applications (apps) for smoking cessation are a promising treatment resource. However, research on apps for adolescent smoking cessation is limited. This study compared smoking cessation mobile apps targeting an adolescent audience with popular cessation apps for a general audience. Adolescent and general-audience apps were identified by searching the Google Play and Apple App Stores (November 2016). Two coders assessed each app for adherence to clinical practice guidelines for tobacco and adolescent-specific content (2016-2017) and developed a summary score that summed all adherence and adolescent content criteria. Eight adolescent apps were identified and compared with the top 38 general apps (as ranked by Apple and Google). Both general and adolescent apps commonly had adherence content related to developing a quit plan (general: 73.68 per cent; adolescent: 87.50 per cent) and enhancing motivation by describing the rewards of not smoking (general: 76.32 per cent; adolescent: 62.50 per cent). Adolescent-specific content such as peer influence on smoking was common in adolescent apps but not in general apps (general: 5.26 per cent; adolescent: 62.50 per cent). Adolescent apps had a higher general adherence content summary score [t (44) = 2.55, p =. 01] and a higher adolescent content summary score [t (7.81) = 2.47, p =. 04] than the general apps. On average, adolescent cessation apps included more adherence content and adolescent-specific content than general apps. Future research is needed to determine the extent to which adolescents engage with the adherence content available in these apps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-309
Number of pages8
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2018


  • Adolescent smoking cessation
  • Mobile health
  • Smoking cessation
  • mHealth


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