Promoting smoking cessation during pregnancy: a feasibility and pilot trial of a digital storytelling intervention delivered via text-messaging

Emma King*, Helen Cheyne, Purva Abhyankar, Andrew Elders, Mark Grindle, Adrian Hapca, Claire Jones, Ronan O'Carroll, Mary Steele, Brian Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Smoking during pregnancy causes risks to mother and infant health. We investigated the feasibility and likely success of SKIP-IT, a narrative and picture-based smoking cessation intervention delivered via text messages.

A feasibility and pilot trial. We aimed to recruit 70 pregnant women who smoked, randomised to usual care alone or usual care and the SKIP-IT intervention between 12 weeks of pregnancy and 6 weeks post due-date. Outcomes assessed were recruitment, retention, acceptability of, and engagement with the intervention, smoking behaviour, intentions, perceived risk, and self-efficacy.

Of 312 women initially approached by smoking cessation services only 54 (17%) agreed to be contacted by the research team. Twenty were then either ineligible or uncontactable and 28 (82%) participated. Most women reported texts to be entertaining and helpful. The proportion of women not smoking at follow-up was lower in the intervention group, but numbers were too small to draw conclusions about effectiveness.

The intervention was acceptable, but difficulty in making initial and follow-up contacts meant our methods were unfeasible for a larger trial.

Practice implications
Digital Storytelling interventions could help women quit smoking, but further research is required to identify alternative methods for studies with pregnant women who smoke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2562-2572
Number of pages11
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
Early online date10 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • behaviour change
  • intervention
  • pregnancy
  • smoking
  • text-messaging
  • humans
  • feasibility studies
  • female
  • pilot projects
  • pregnant women
  • smoking cessation/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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