Home > Conversational artificial intelligence interventions to support smoking cessation: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Bendotti, Hollie and Lawler, Sheleigh and Chan, Gary C K and Gartner, Coral and Ireland, David and Marshall, Henry M (2023) Conversational artificial intelligence interventions to support smoking cessation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Digital Health, 9, 20552076231211634. doi: 10.1177/20552076231211634.

External website: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/205520762...

BACKGROUND: Conversational artificial intelligence (chatbots and dialogue systems) is an emerging tool for tobacco cessation that has the potential to emulate personalised human support and increase engagement. We aimed to determine the effect of conversational artificial intelligence interventions with or without standard tobacco cessation interventions on tobacco cessation outcomes among adults who smoke, compared to no intervention, placebo intervention or an active comparator.

METHODS: A comprehensive search of six databases was completed in June 2022. Eligible studies included randomised controlled trials published since 2005. The primary outcome was sustained tobacco abstinence, self-reported and/or biochemically validated, for at least 6 months. Secondary outcomes included point-prevalence abstinence and sustained abstinence of less than 6 months. Two authors independently extracted data on cessation outcomes and completed the risk of bias assessment. Random effects meta-analysis was conducted.

RESULTS: From 819 studies, five randomised controlled trials met inclusion criteria (combined sample size  = 58,796). All studies differed in setting, methodology, intervention, participants and end-points. Interventions included chatbots embedded in multi- and single-component smartphone apps ( = 3), a social media-based ( = 1) chatbot, and an internet-based avatar ( = 1). Random effects meta-analysis of three studies found participants in the conversational artificial intelligence enhanced intervention were significantly more likely to quit smoking at 6-month follow-up compared to control group participants (RR = 1.29, 95% CI (1.13, 1.46),  < 0.001). Loss to follow up was generally high. Risk of bias was high overall.

CONCLUSION: We found limited but promising evidence on the effectiveness of conversational artificial intelligence interventions for tobacco cessation. Although all studies found benefits from conversational artificial intelligence interventions, results should be interpreted with caution due to high heterogeneity. Given the rapid evolution and potential of artificial intelligence interventions, further well-designed randomised controlled trials following standardised reporting guidelines are warranted in this emerging area.

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