We appreciate the work by Myung et al1 in conducting a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating computer- and Web-based smoking cessation programs. However, there is a fundamental problem with the heterogeneity of the studies included, an underlying issue that reflects the state of the science rather than the authors' technique.
Of the 13 studies described as “computer based,” 9 involved mailing tailored print materials, a technique that is already known to be effective from previous meta-analyses,2 and which could for the most part be accomplished with research assistants and a typewriter. The remaining 4 studies, in which the subjects interacted with a computer, showed no statistically significant effect. In the 9 studies described as “Web based,” in which all participants presumably directly interacted with a computer program via the Internet, the interventions varied to such an extent that no useful class effect can be inferred. One of the most effective studies involved provided subjects with up to $200 in incentives for visiting a Web site where they described their health habits, took an interactive quiz, and read a college life magazine,3 while another simply supplemented traditional counseling and physical materials with manually written e-mail messages from research assistants.4
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Internal Medicine editors. You will be notified when your comment has been published. Comments should not exceed 500 words of text and 10 references.
Do not submit personal medical questions or information that could identify a specific patient, questions about a particular case, or general inquiries to an author. Only content that has not been published, posted, or submitted elsewhere should be submitted. By submitting this Comment, you and any coauthors transfer copyright to the journal if your Comment is posted.
* = Required Field
Disclosure of Any Conflicts of Interest*
Indicate all relevant conflicts of interest of each author below, including all relevant financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including, but not limited to, employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speakers’ bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued. If all authors have none, check "No potential conflicts or relevant financial interests" in the box below. Please also indicate any funding received in support of this work. The information will be posted with your response.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 42
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.