Direct Outreach in Bars and Clubs to Enroll Cigarette Smokers in Mobile Cessation Services: Exploratory Study

Patricia Chalela, Alfred L. McAlister, Cliff Despres, Edgar Muñoz, Pramod Sukumaran, David Akopian, Sahak Kaghyan, Jesus Trujillo, Amelie G Ramirez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cigarette smoking and alcohol use are well known to be concomitant behaviors, but there is a lack of studies related to recruitment of smokers for mobile cessation services at places where alcohol is consumed, such as bars and clubs. Adapting recruitment strategies to expand the reach of cessation programs to where tobacco users are located may help decrease the health-equity gap in tobacco control by improving reach and enrollment of underserved smokers residing in low-income and rural areas who are not reached by traditional cessation services. Objective: The purpose of this exploratory study was to assess the feasibility of direct outreach in bars, clubs, and restaurants to recruit smokers to Quitxt, our mobile smoking cessation service. Quitxt is delivered through SMS text messaging or Facebook Messenger. Methods: We collaborated with an advertising agency to conduct in-person recruitment of young adult smokers aged 18-29 years, focusing on urban and rural Spanish-speaking Latino participants, as well as English-speaking rural White and African American participants. Street team members were recruited and trained in a 4-hour session, including a brief introduction to the public health impacts of cigarette smoking and the aims of the project. The street teams made direct, face-to-face contact with smokers in and near smoking areas at 25 bars, clubs, and other venues frequented by young smokers in urban San Antonio and nearby rural areas. Results: The 3923 interactions by the street teams produced 335 (8.5%) program enrollments. Most participants were English speakers with a mean age of 29.2 (SD 10.6) years and smoked a mean of 8.5 (SD 6.2) cigarettes per day. Among users who responded to questions on gender and ethnicity, 66% (70/106) were women and 56% (60/107) were Hispanic/Latino. Among users ready to make a quit attempt, 22% (17/77) reported 1 tobacco-free day and 16% (10/62) reported maintaining cessation to achieve 1 week without smoking. The response rate to later follow-up questions was low. Conclusions: Direct outreach in bars and clubs is a useful method for connecting young adult cigarette smokers with mobile cessation services. However, further research is needed to learn more about how mobile services can influence long-term smoking cessation among those recruited through direct outreach, as well as to test the use of incentives in obtaining more useful response rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28059
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Keywords

  • direct recruitment
  • Latinos
  • mobile intervention
  • smoking cessation
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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