Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims?
In Switzerland, regular cigarette smoking is particularly widespread among adolescents and young adults with lower educational level. Traditional measures to promote smoking cessation (stopping smoking), such as smoking cessation groups, are time- and labour-intensive and are used by only a small proportion of young people. To promote smoking cessation in this group, the most promising programs take into account their lifestyle as well as their individual motivation to quit and their ability to understand smoking cessation information. Mobile phone text messaging offers novel opportunities to provide personalised messages to promote smoking cessation in large groups of adolescents and young adults.
This study aims to see how well a text messaging program to promote smoking cessation in regularly smoking apprentices in Switzerland will work.

Who can participate?
Participants are adolescents and young adults (typically aged 14-26 years) who are attending vocational schools, who are smoking cigarettes daily or occasionally, and who own a mobile phone.

What does the study involve?
A text messaging program generating personalised messages using data from a web-based survey will be developed. The text messages will be sent to the participants over a period of three months. The messages will take into account demographic data and the individual’s smoking behaviour based on the Health Action Process Approach. Participants will receive two text messages to promote smoking cessation per week. Program participants with an intention to quit smoking can also use a more intensive text messaging program to prepare for their quit day and for relapse prevention afterwards. The program will be evaluated within a controlled trial to see how well it works, and to see how well it is accepted by participants. Participants will be assigned randomly to an intervention group receiving the program or an assessment only control group. 6 months later, the participants will be asked if they have smoked at all in the past 7 days.
The program offers an effective and inexpensive way to promote smoking cessation among young people of different education and independent of their motivation to quit.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Possible benefits of program participation are an increased chance of becoming a non-smoker, an increased intention to quit smoking, and a lower level of nicotine dependence. We do not expect there to be any risks associated with program participation.

Where is the study run from?
Approximately 130 school classes from approximately 30 vocational schools in Switzerland.

When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study starts in September 2011 and ends in March 2013.

Who is funding the study?
The study is funded by the Swiss Tobacco Prevention Fund.

Who is the main contact?
Dr. Severin Haug

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Severin Haug


Contact details

Konradstrasse 32
+41 (0)44 448 11 74

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Efficacy of an individualised smoking cessation intervention in adolescents and young adults provided by text messaging: a cluster randomised controlled trial



Study hypothesis

Smokers receiving a text messaging based smoking cessation intervention will show higher rates of smoking abstinence at follow-up than smokers of an assessment only control group

Ethics approval

Local Ethics Committee of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland approved on 15th March 2011, KEK-StV-Nr. 05/11

Study design

Cluster randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a participant information sheet


Tobacco smoking cessation


Intervention group:
1. Online baseline assessment of demographic data and smoking behaviour
2. Online baseline assessment of pros and cons of smoking and strategies to resist smoking
3. Individualised text messages to support smoking cessation (2 text messages per week for a period of 3 months)
4. Possibility to register for a more intensive program providing strategies for smoking cessation around a self-defined quit date (2 text messages per day for a period of 4 weeks)

Assessment only control group:
Online baseline assessment of demographic data and smoking behaviour

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measures

7-day point prevalence smoking abstinence assessed at follow-up at 6 months

Secondary outcome measures

All secondary outcome measures will be assessed at the 6-months follow up.
1. 30-day point prevalence smoking abstinence
2. Nicotine dependence assessed by the Heaviness of Smoking Index
3. Self-efficacy for smoking cessation
4. Quit attempt in the previous 6 months

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Male and female adolescents and young adults attending vocational or high schools (age 14-26)
2. Daily cigarette smoking or occasional cigarette smoking (at least 4 cigarettes in the previous month and at least one cigarette during the past week)
3. Ownership of an own mobile phone
4. Use of mobile phone text messaging

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

N=910 (intervention group: n=455, assessment only control group: n=455).

Participant exclusion criteria

Does not meet inclusion criteria

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Konradstrasse 32

Sponsor information


Swiss Tobacco Prevention Fund (Switzerland)

Sponsor details

Bundesamt für Gesundheit BAG

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Swiss Tobacco Prevention Fund (Switzerland) (No 10.007207)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

2013 results in:

Publication citations

  1. Results

    Haug S, Schaub MP, Venzin V, Meyer C, John U, Efficacy of a text message-based smoking cessation intervention for young people: a cluster randomized controlled trial., J. Med. Internet Res., 2013, 15, 8, e171, doi: 10.2196/jmir.2636.

Additional files

Editorial Notes