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Cessation rates from a national collective social network smoking cessation programme: results from the ‘I quit smoking with Facebook on March 21’ Swiss programme
  1. Olivier Desrichard1,
  2. Lisa S Moussaoui1,
  3. Jérôme Blondé1,
  4. Max Felder2,
  5. Gisana Riedo2,
  6. Laura Folly2,
  7. Juan M Falomir-Pichastor1
  1. 1 Psychology, University of Geneva Faculty of Psychology and Education, Geneve, Switzerland
  2. 2 Behavior-change Lab, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Olivier Desrichard, Psychology, University of Geneva Faculty of Psychology and Education, 1211 Geneve, Switzerland; olivier.desrichard{at}


Background Programmes for collective smoking cessation, based on the British model Stoptober, are proposed by public health units in many countries. There is a need for data estimating the rate at which participants in these programmes are successful in quitting smoking. We report a prospective study carried out as part of a large-scale collective cessation programme conducted in Switzerland in 2017.

Methods 1112 participants among the 7008 smokers enrolled in the collective cessation programme were recruited before the start of the attempt. Continuous abstinence was measured 10 days, 3 months and 6 months after the start of the attempt. Participants who dropped out at follow-up were considered to have failed the attempt (worst-case scenario).

Results The continuous abstinence rate was at least 37.9% at 10-day follow-up, 18.8% at 3-month follow-up and 13.1% at 6-month follow-up. Similar levels of continuous abstinence as the worst-case scenario were found in sensitivity analyses including those whose quit attempt started before the beginning of the programme and where multiple imputation was used to replace dropouts. Sensitivity analyses using complete cases or an indicator of abstinence which allows occasional lapses found around double the abstinence rates.

Conclusions Our results support the potential usefulness of large-scale collective cessation campaigns and suggest that such programmes based on social networks are promising areas for future smoking cessation programme activity.

  • addiction
  • prevention
  • cessation

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  • Contributors OD, JF-P, MF, LF and GR designed the material and supervised the data collection. JB, LM and OD analysed the data. OD and JB wrote the report.

  • Funding The study was funded by Tobacco Control Fund (Swiss Federal Office of Public Health).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.