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Self-help interventions for smoking cessation in the form of structured programs in written (books, brochures, manuals) or electronic (CDs, online) formats provide support and advice for smokers without the help of health professionals, counsellors or group support. On their own, these materials show only marginal effect compared to no intervention, and there is no evidence that they have an additional benefit when used with other interventions, such as advice from a health professional or NRT.148 There is evidence that materials tailored for individual smokers in different tobacco-dependent populations are more effective than untailored materials.11,150
Both a Cochrane review and a more recent narrative review of 15 studies found evidence of effectiveness of text message mobile phone support programs both in the short and long-term.151,152 Combined internet/mobile telephone programs can be effective for up to 12 months for assisting smokers to quit.153,154
Online smoking cessation interventions are low cost and have the potential to reach a large number of smokers.155,156 A major advantage of the internet over printed material is its interactivity and the ability to tailor information to individual needs, but relatively few sites make use of this possibility (for a good example of an Australian site designed to tailor information to individual needs, see the Quit Coach).17 Web-based programs are a promising delivery system for assisting smokers to quit, but further research is needed to identify their most effective use.