The Measurement of Dose and Response for Smoking Behavior Change Interventions in the Digital Age: Systematic Review

Megumi Ichimiya, Raquel Gerard, Sarah Mills, Alexa Brodsky, Jennifer Cantrell, W. Douglas Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: There is little consensus regarding effective digital health interventions for diverse populations, which is due in part to the difficulty of quantifying the impact of various media and content and the lack of consensus on evaluating dosage and outcomes. In particular, digital smoking behavior change intervention is an area where consistency of measurement has been a challenge because of emerging products and rapid policy changes. This study reviewed the contents and outcomes of digital smoking interventions and the consistency of reporting to inform future research. Objective: This study aims to systematically review digital smoking behavior change interventions and evaluate the consistency in measuring and reporting intervention contents, channels, and dose and response outcomes. Methods: PubMed, Embase, Scopus, PsycINFO, and PAIS databases were used to search the literature between January and May 2021. General and journal-based searches were combined. All records were imported into Covidence systematic review software (Veritas Health Innovation) and duplicates were removed. Titles and abstracts were screened by 4 trained reviewers to identify eligible full-text literature. The data synthesis scheme was designed based on the concept that exposure to digital interventions can be divided into intended doses that were planned by the intervention and enacted doses that were completed by participants. The intended dose comprised the frequency and length of the interventions, and the enacted dose was assessed as the engagement. Response measures were assessed for behaviors, intentions, and psychosocial outcomes. Measurements of the dose-response relationship were reviewed for all studies. Results: A total of 2916 articles were identified through a database search. Of these 2916 articles, the title and abstract review yielded 324 (11.11%) articles for possible eligibility, and 19 (0.65%) articles on digital smoking behavior change interventions were ultimately included for data extraction and synthesis. The analysis revealed a lack of prevention studies (0/19, 0%) and dose-response studies (3/19, 16%). Of the 19 studies, 6 (32%) reported multiple behavioral measures, and 5 (23%) reported multiple psychosocial measures as outcomes. For dosage measures, 37% (7/19) of studies used frequency of exposure, and 21% (4/19) of studies mentioned the length of exposure. The assessment of clarity of reporting revealed that the duration of intervention and data collection tended to be reported vaguely in the literature. Conclusions: This review revealed a lack of studies assessing the effects of digital media interventions on smoking outcomes. Data synthesis showed that measurement and reporting were inconsistent across studies, illustrating current challenges in this field. Although most studies focused on reporting outcomes, the measurement of exposure, including intended and enacted doses, was unclear in a large proportion of studies. Clear and consistent reporting of both outcomes and exposures is needed to develop further evidence in intervention research on digital smoking behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere38470
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • behavior change interventions
  • digital health
  • digital media
  • dose-response
  • mHealth
  • mobile health
  • mobile phone
  • smoking
  • social media
  • telehealth
  • vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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