Abstract

Internet-based cessation programs are promising. However, little information exists on how to recruit college smokers to participate in online interventions. Two studies assessed the feasibility of Internet health screening as a recruitment strategy for college smokers. The Internet Survey Study compared Internet (n = 735), mail (n = 1,490), and phone (n = 550) surveys as means to identify college smokers. The RealU Recruitment Study described the use of an Internet-based general health screening survey (N = 25,000) to recruit for an online cessation trial. The Internet Survey Study showed that, despite large differences in response rates (Internet = 38%, mail = 47%, phone = 90%; p<.001), the rates of past-month tobacco use were similar (Internet = 35%, mail = 38%, phone = 34%; p = .35). Among past-month users, a greater proportion reported daily use on the Internet (33%) and phone (37%) surveys versus the mail survey (23%, p = .007). In the RealU Recruitment Study, 517 college smokers were recruited in 1 week. The Internet survey response rate was 26%, the prevalence of current smoking was 29%, the eligibility rate was 87%, and the enrollment rate was 32% (517/1,618). Internet health screening can be used to quickly identify and enroll large numbers of college smokers in an online smoking cessation intervention.

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