Francesc X Marin-Gomez , MD , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , Rocio Garcia-Moreno Marchán , MD 5 , Anabel Mayos-Fernandez , MSN 5 , Gemma Flores-Mateo , MD 6 , 7 , Esther Granado-Font , SRA 6 , 8 , 9 , Maria Luisa Barrera Uriarte , SRA 6 , 10 , Jordi Duch , PhD 6 , 11 , Cristina Rey-Reñones , PhD 6 , 8
27 March 2019
Tobacco use during pregnancy entails a serious risk to the mother and harmful effects on the development of the child. Europe has the highest tobacco smoking prevalence (19.3%) compared with the 6.8% global mean. Between 20% to 30% of pregnant women used tobacco during pregnancy worldwide. These data emphasize the urgent need for community education and implementation of prevention strategies focused on the risks associated with tobacco use during pregnancy.
The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of an intervention that incorporates a serious game (Tobbstop) to help pregnant smokers quit smoking.
A two-arm randomized controlled trial enrolled 42 women who visited 2 primary care centers in Catalonia, Spain, between March 2015 and November 2016. All participants were pregnant smokers, above 18 years old, attending consultation with a midwife during the first trimester of pregnancy, and had expressed their desire to stop smoking. Participants were randomized to the intervention (n=21) or control group (n=21). The intervention group was instructed to install the game on their mobile phone or tablet and use it for 3 months. Until delivery, all the participants were assessed on their stage of smoking cessation during their follow-up midwife consultations. The primary outcome was continuous tobacco abstinence until delivery confirmed by the amount of carbon monoxide at each visit, measured with a carboxymeter.
Continuous abstinence until delivery outcome was 57% (12/21) in the intervention group versus 14% (3/21) in the control group (hazard ratio=4.31; 95% CI 1.87-9.97; P=.001). The mean of total days without smoking until delivery was higher in the intervention group (mean 139.75, SD 21.76) compared with the control group (mean 33.28, SD 13.27; P<.001). In addition, a Kapplan-Meier survival analysis showed that intervention group has a higher abstinence rate compared with the control group (log-rank test, χ 2 1=13.91; P<.001).
Serious game use is associated with an increased likelihood to maintain abstinence during the intervention period if compared with those not using the game. Pregnancy is an ideal opportunity to intervene and control tobacco use among future mothers. On the other hand, serious games are an emerging technology, growing in importance, which are shown to be a good tool to help quitting smoking during pregnancy and also to maintain this abstinent behavior. However, because of the study design limitations, these outcomes should be interpreted with caution. More research, using larger samples and longer follow-up periods, is needed to replicate the findings of this study.