Characterising smoking cessation smartphone applications in terms of behaviour change techniques, engagement and ease-of-use features

Harveen Kaur Ubhi*, S. Mitchie, D. Kotz, O.C. van Schayck, A. Selladurai, R. West

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to assess whether or not behaviour change techniques (BCTs) as well as engagement and ease-of-use features used in smartphone applications (apps) to aid smoking cessation can be identified reliably. Apps were coded for presence of potentially effective BCTs, and engagement and ease-of-use features. Inter-rater reliability for this coding was assessed. Inter-rater agreement for identifying presence of potentially effective BCTs ranged from 66.8 to 95.1 % with ‘prevalence and bias adjusted kappas’ (PABAK) ranging from 0.35 to 0.90 (p < 0.001). The intra-class correlation coefficients between the two coders for scores denoting the proportions of (a) a set of engagement features and (b) a set of ease-of-use features, which were included, were 0.77 and 0.75, respectively (p < 0.001). Prevalence estimates for BCTs ranged from <10 % for medication advice to >50 % for rewarding abstinence. The average proportions of specified engagement and ease-of-use features included in the apps were 69 and 83 %, respectively. The study found that it is possible to identify potentially effective BCTs, and engagement and ease-of-use features in smoking cessation apps with fair to high inter-rater reliability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410–417
Number of pages8
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date23 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation
  • Smartphone
  • Apps
  • Applications
  • Mobile
  • Behaviour change interventions
  • Behaviour change techniques
  • Taxonomy
  • BCTs
  • Engagement
  • Ease-of-use
  • Feature
  • APPS

Cite this