A Text-Based Smoking Cessation Intervention for Sexual and Gender Minority Groups: Protocol for a Feasibility Trial

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JMIR research protocols








LGBTQ+; SMS text messaging; mHealth; mobile health; sexual and gender minorities; smoking cessation


BACKGROUND: Smoking among sexual and gender minority (SGM) groups, which include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals, has been reported to be highly prevalent. This is attributed to several factors, including minority-specific stress and targeted tobacco marketing. Therefore, this population is at an increased risk for tobacco-related diseases. SMS text messaging programs have been found to be effective for smoking cessation and appeal to traditionally hard-to-reach populations over other interventions. It has also been suggested that targeted and tailored interventions could be more effective among SGM smokers because they can be designed to assure a safe, validating health care environment that enhances receptivity to cessation. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to develop SmokefreeSGM, a text-based smoking cessation program tailored to and tested among SGM smokers. METHODS: The study consists of three phases, culminating in a feasibility trial. In Phase 1, our research team will collaborate with a Community Advisory Board to develop and pretest the design of SmokefreeSGM. In Phase 2, the tailored text messaging program will be beta tested among 16 SGM smokers. Our research team will use a mixed-methods approach to collect and analyze data from participants who will inform the refinement of SmokefreeSGM. In Phase 3, a feasibility trial will be conducted among 80 SGM smokers either enrolled in SmokefreeSGM or SmokefreeTXT, the original text-based program developed by the National Cancer Institute for the general population. Our research team will examine recruitment, retention, and smoking abstinence rates at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-up. Additionally, a qualitative interview will be conducted among 32 participants to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the programs (SmokefreeSGM and SmokefreeTXT). RESULTS: This study received approval from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects to begin research on August 21, 2020. Recruitment for the beta testing of SmokefreeSGM (Phase 2) began in January 2022. We estimate that the feasibility trial (Phase 3) will begin in September 2022 and that results will be available in December 2023. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this research effort will help reduce tobacco-related health disparities among SGM smokers by determining the feasibility and acceptability of SmokefreeSGM, an SGM-tailored smoking cessation intervention. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05029362; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05029362. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/42553.


Prevention and Community Health