A systematic review of smartphone applications for smoking cessation

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine; School of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Emergency Medicine | Substance Abuse and Addiction | Telemedicine


Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the USA. However, limited data exists regarding smoking cessation mobile app quality and intervention effectiveness. Innovative and scalable interventions are needed to further alleviate the public health implications of tobacco addiction. The proliferation of the smartphone and the advent of mobile phone health interventions have made treatment more accessible than ever. The purpose of this review was to examine the relation between published scientific literature and available commercial smartphone health apps for smoking cessation to identify the percentage of scientifically supported apps that were commercially available to consumers and to determine how many of the top commercially available apps for smoking cessation were supported by the published scientific literature. Adhering to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, apps were reviewed in four phases: (1) identified apps from the scientific literature, (2) searched app stores for apps identified in the literature, (3) identified top apps available in leading app stores, and (4) determined which top apps available in stores had scientific support. Seven articles identified six apps with some level of scientific support, three (50%) were available in at least one app store. Conversely, among the top 50 apps suggested by each of the leading app stores, only two (4%) had any scientific support. While half of the scientifically vetted apps remain available to consumers, they are difficult to find among the many apps that are identified through app store searches.


Tobacco cessation, Mobile health, eHealth, Smartphone application

DOI of Published Version



Transl Behav Med. 2017 Jun;7(2):292-299. doi: 10.1007/s13142-017-0492-2. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Translational behavioral medicine


Co-author Patric Gibbons is a medical student at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID