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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using Facebook to address smoking and heavy drinking in young adults: Protocol for a randomized, controlled trial

  • Author(s): Ramo, DE
  • Kaur, M
  • Corpuz, ES
  • Satre, DD
  • Delucchi, K
  • Brown, SA
  • Prochaska, JJ
  • et al.

© 2018 The Authors Introduction: Tobacco and alcohol often are used simultaneously by young adults, and their co-use is associated with greater health consequences than from single use. Social media platforms offer low cost and highly accessible channels to reach and engage young people in substance use interventions. The current trial seeks to compare the Facebook Tobacco Status Project (TSP) smoking cessation intervention to an intervention targeting both tobacco use and heavy episodic drinking (TSP + ALC) among young adults who use both substances. Methods: This randomized clinical trial will evaluate the feasibility and initial efficacy of TSP + ALC compared to TSP with 225 US young adult smokers reporting heavy drinking. Participants will be recruited online and randomized to one of two conditions (TSP or TSP + ALC), both with assignment to a Facebook group tailored to readiness to quit smoking. Groups will receive a 90-day intervention including daily Facebook postings and weekly live counseling sessions. The TSP + ALC group will include content related to alcohol use. All participants will be offered a 2-week introductory supply of nicotine patch. Participants will complete baseline, 3-, 6-, and 12-month online assessments of substance use and other health risk behaviors. The primary efficacy outcome is biochemically-verified 7-day point prevalence abstinence. Secondary outcomes include alcohol and tobacco use, combined use, and thoughts about each substance. Discussion: This trial examines an innovative and scalable approach to engaging young adults online in tobacco and alcohol use treatment. Study findings will inform digital health interventions and best practices for treating multiple substance use in young adults.

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