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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 8, Issue 5, Pages 333-337
Original Article

The Lung Cancer and Cigarette Smoking Web Page: A Pilot Study in Telehealth Promotion on the World Wide Web

Frederic W Grannis

City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Diseases caused by tobacco products are the number one preventable health problem.

STUDY OBJECTIVES: A pilot study was performed to determine the characteristics of persons searching the World Wide Web (WWW) for information on tobacco-caused diseases, the type of information sought and the feasibility of meeting informational needs.

METHODS: The Lung Cancer and Cigarette Smoking Web Page at the unique reference location <>, created in January 1996, consists of hypertext metafile language files in a ‘frequently asked questions’ format on tobacco-caused diseases, nicotine dependence and smoking cessation. Links to other Web pages, a counter, e-mail access and Web forms were included.

SETTING: Personal computer.

PARTICIPANTS: People browsing the WWW.

RESULTS: Between April 1996 and March 1999, there were more than 150,000 hits and 1510 individual e-mail or form responses; 597 (51.3%) of the respondents were female and 566 (48.7%) were male. They ranged between nine and 79 years of age, with a median of 29 years and a mean of 34 years. The percentage of respondents 20 years old or younger was 34.3%. Five hundred thirteen people resided in 45 American states, and 195 individuals resided in 39 other nations. Students, people with tobacco-caused diseases, and relatives or friends of persons with tobacco-caused diseases made up the large majority of correspondents. Smokers represented 40.2% of the respondents, ex-smokers 34.3% and never-smokers 25.5%. There were three main types of questions: questions for information on the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, for help with smoking cessation and for information on tobacco-caused diseases from students working on a school-related project. Images of tobacco-caused diseases were requested frequently.

CONCLUSIONS: An educational WWW page is a potentially important resource in the control of tobacco-caused diseases because it fosters primary prevention of smoking in young people, facilitating smoking cessation and providing information on the diagnosis and treatment of tobacco-caused diseases.