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Smartphone Ownership Among US Adult Cigarette Smokers: 2014 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) Data



Smartphone Ownership Among US Adult Cigarette Smokers: 2014 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) Data



Journal of Medical Internet Research 19(8): E305



Label="BACKGROUND">Despite increasing interest in smartphone apps as a platform for delivery of tobacco cessation interventions, no previous studies have evaluated the prevalence and characteristics of smokers who can access smartphone-delivered interventions.Label="OBJECTIVE">To guide treatment development in this new platform and to evaluate disparities in access to smartphone-delivered interventions, we examined associations of smartphone ownership with demographics, tobacco use and thoughts about quitting, other health behaviors, physical and mental health, health care access, and Internet and technology utilization using a nationally representative sample of US adult smokers.Label="METHODS">Data were from the National Cancer Institute's 2014 Health Information National Trends Survey 4 (HINTS 4), Cycle 4. This mailed survey targeted noninstitutionalized individuals aged 18 years or older using two-stage stratified random sampling. For this analysis, we restricted the sample to current smokers with complete data on smartphone ownership (n=479).Label="RESULTS">Nearly two-thirds (weighted percent=63.8%, 248/479) of smokers reported owning a smartphone. Those who were younger (P<.001), employed (P=.002), never married (P=.002), and had higher education (P=.002) and income (P<.001) had the highest rates of ownership. Smartphone owners did not differ from nonowners on frequency of smoking, recent quit attempts, or future plans to quit smoking, although they reported greater belief in the benefits of quitting (P=.04). Despite being equally likely to be overweight or obese, smartphone owners reported greater fruit and vegetable consumption (P=.03) and were more likely to report past-year efforts to increase exercise (P=.001) and to lose weight (P=.02). No differences in health care access and utilization were found. Smartphone owners reported better physical and mental health in several domains and higher access to and utilization of technology and the Internet, including for health reasons.Label="CONCLUSIONS">Smartphone ownership among smokers mirrors many trends in the general population, including the overall rate of ownership and the association with younger age and higher socioeconomic status. Apps for smoking cessation could potentially capitalize on smartphone owners' efforts at multiple health behavior changes and interest in communicating with health care providers via technology. These data also highlight the importance of accessible treatment options for smokers without smartphones in order to reach smokers with the highest physical and mental health burden and prevent worsening of tobacco-related health disparities as interventions move to digital platforms.

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Accession: 060258929

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28860108

DOI: 10.2196/jmir.7953


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