Smoking-Cessation Interventions in Appalachia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published:November 16, 2019DOI:


      Appalachia, a socioeconomically disadvantaged rural region in the eastern U.S., has one of the nation's highest prevalence rates of smoking and some of the poorest health outcomes. Effective interventions that lower smoking rates in Appalachia have great potential to reduce health disparities and preventable illness; however, a better understanding of effective interventions is needed.

      Evidence acquisition

      This review included trials that evaluated the impact of smoking-cessation programs among populations living in Appalachia. The search was carried out on October 9, 2018 and comprised the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline, Embase, and Scopus for academic journal articles published in English, with no date restrictions. After preliminary screening, potentially relevant full-text articles were independently reviewed by the authors with a Cohen's κ of 0.72, leading to the final inclusion of 9 articles.

      Evidence synthesis

      Eligible studies were assessed qualitatively for heterogeneity and risk of bias. Six of the 9 included studies had extractable data related to dichotomous smoking status and reported a measure of association suitable for inclusion in a meta-analysis. For those 6 studies, the pooled RR and pooled OR were estimated using random effects models, with an I2 index demonstrating substantial heterogeneity. A funnel plot of the 6 trials appeared relatively symmetric.


      Participation in smoking-cessation interventions increased the probability of smoking abstinence among Appalachian smokers by an estimated 2.33 times (pooled RR=2.33, 95% CI=1.03, 5.25, p=0.04). Given the low number of studies, their substantial heterogeneity, and high risk of bias, the evidence of the effectiveness of smoking-cessation interventions in Appalachia must be interpreted with caution.
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