San Francisco Stop Smoking Site


The San Francisco Stop Smoking Site is for smokers who are ready to quit - comprising of an eight-lesson cognitive-behavioural course, automated support emails with links relevant to a user's stage of quitting, and an online forum. The cognitive-behavioural modules cover topics including monitoring of moods, replacing the positive reinforcement that smokers received from nicotine with other pleasant activities, and “talking back” to harmful thoughts. Each module includes text, exercises and tools for self monitoring to help users learn behavioural change and coping strategies. Users are also contacted 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after registration, to gain feedback on their quit progress and their use of the site.

Service URL:
Agency Responsible:
University of California and San Francisco General Hospital.


Intervention Types:
Educational (primarily educational material or psychoeducation) and Psychological – CBT.
Course Length:
Long (more than 5 modules). Takes more than 8 weeks to complete
Support Option:
Automated only.

Target Audience

Primary Category:
Target Audience:
English and Spanish.


Open: With registration.
Contact Details: or via an online form:

Research evidence

Research Trials:
Research RCTs:
Outcome Summary:

There is currently no evidence of the efficacy of the San Francisco Stop Smoking Site compared to a no-treatment control. However studies have compared the program to 1) an online stop smoking guide alone, 2) the guide plus email reminders, 3) the guide plus emails plus mood management lessons (cognitive-behavioural modules). An early study reported 7-day abstinence rates of 20%-26% for participants allocated to a condition utilising several components of the site (smoking cessation guide, plus email reminders, plus the cognitive-behavioural modules). This compared to 7-day abstinence rates of 6% using the smoking cessation guide alone, and 10%-14% using the guide plus email reminders. In a subsequent trial 1000 smokers randomised to four conditions utilising different elements of the program and were followed up by phone to determine abstinence rates. No significant differences in abstinence rates were found between the different conditions, with overall abstinence rates at around 20% after 12 months. The next trial was fully automated, with no follow-up telephone contact and therefore much higher rates of attrition. Based on the assumption unreachable participants were smoking, abstinence rates in this study were found to be 8%. Therefore, the San Francisco Stop Smoking Site may be effective - but further studies including a no-treatment control is needed.

Recommended rating, reviewer 1:

There is evidence that the site might work. More conclusive studies are needed.
Recommended rating, reviewer 2:

There is evidence that the site might work. More conclusive studies are needed.

Read more about Beacon's Smiley Rating System.

Research paper citations

Efficacy studies:

  1. Leykin et al (2012) Interpreting the outcomes of automated internet-based randomized trials: example of an International Smoking Cessation Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14(1):e5
  2. Muñoz, R. F., Barrera, A. Z., Delucchi, K., Penilla, C., Torres, L. D., & Pérez-Stable, E. J. (2009). International Spanish/English Internet smoking cessation trial yields 20% abstinence rates at 1 year. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 11(9), 1025-1034.
  3. Muñoz, R. F., Lenert, L. L., Delucchi, K., Stoddard, J., Perez, J. E., Penilla, C., & Pérez-Stable, E. J. (2006). Toward evidence-based Internet interventions: A Spanish/English Web site for international smoking cessation trials. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 8(1), 77–87.

Additional References:

  1. Barrera, A. Z., Delucchi, K., Muñoz, R. F. (2009). Global reach of an internet smoking cessation intervention among Spanish- and English-speaking smokers from 157 countries.. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 6, 927-940.
  2. Bränström, R., Penilla, C., Pérez-Stable, E. J., & Muñoz, R. F. (2010) Positive affect and mood management in successful smoking cessation. american Journal of Health Behavior, 34(5), 553-562.
  3. Lenert, L., Muñoz, R. F., Stoddard, J., Delucchi, K., Bansod, A., Skoczen, S., & Pérez-Stable, E. J. (2003). Design and pilot evaluation of an internet smoking cessation program. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 10, 16-20.
  4. Lenert, L., Muñoz, R. F., Perez, J. E., & Bansod, A. (2004). Automated e-mail messaging as a tool for improving quit rates in an internet smoking cessation intervention. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 11(4), 1-6.

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Last Updated: November 23rd 2012