Tobacco consumption is the most preventable cause of morbidity-mortality in the world. Although the prevalence of tobacco use among adolescents and young adults in Europe has decreased in recent years, tobacco use continues to be a major health problem among young people with a lower educational level. According to, data from ESCA 2011, 30.6% of boys and 34.1% of girls, among 15–24 years smoke daily.
Many adolescent and young adult smokers want to stop smoking and report frequent attempts to quit . Valdivieso et al.  recently reported high interest in smoking cessation (67%) among young people who were habitual smokers and who frequently expressed the difficulty of maintaining abstinence despite repeated attempts.
Primary health care has an essential role in smoking cessation. Results of a randomized clinical trial in Spain indicate that a smoking cessation intervention was effective in the adult population, with 8.1% of the intervention group participants reporting continued abstinence at one year, compared to 5.8% in the control group (p<0.014) .
However, no studies to date assessed the effectiveness of a structured smoking cessation intervention directed at young people. One aspect of smoking cessation that merits in-depth study is the potential usefulness of new technologies, in particular the use of an application designed for smartphones (app), as a supportive element that could assist younger smokers in their efforts to quit. New technologies –and specifically a targeted app-- offer three benefits that can be useful for this purpose: First, they reach people “where they are”, i.e. there is no need to go to any specific place to receive support services. Second, they promote interactivity, opening new channels of communication between patients and “experts”. And third, they provide instant access to information and assistance. Therefore, it seems logical to hypothesize that a smartphone app will be a useful tool to offer additional support when a young adult wants to stop smoking .
Some efforts have already been made in this direction. Clinical trials have evaluated the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in adolescents and young people that made use of text messages (SMS), with significantly better results than in the control group (9% vs. 4% abstinence) [5, 6]. A recent review by Cochrane  of the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions that use mobile telephones concludes that further studies are needed to determine whether these technologies will assist in smoking cessation efforts. Of particular interest for clinical practice, a programme of text messages sent to mobile phones was effective in the short term (six weeks) and a combined programme of Internet and mobile phone messages up to 12 months.
According to a study by Fundación Telefónica (the foundation associated with Spain’s national telephone company), the number of “smartphones” (mobile phones with an advanced operating system such as Android or iOS) sold in the second trimester of 2011 exceeded for the first time the number of personal computers sold (107 million smartphones, compared to 85 million personal computers). In 2009, more than two thirds of the world’s population had mobile phone access and more than 4.2 billion text messages were sent . We would point out that the youngest segment of the population is most likely to include new technologies in their everyday lives. This behaviour pattern is repeated in patterns of Internet access using mobile phones and 3G technologies, reaching 26% market penetration among young people in Spain --more than twice the European average for this population .
Parallel to the growth of smartphone devices, a series of apps have been developed with the objective of providing information and support concerning social and medical problems . The world market for medical apps for smartphones and tablets multiplied seven-fold in 2011 alone, reaching a total of US$718 million, according to a market analysis by the American firm research2guidance. At present, these apps are being used as instruments of patient education and support and are also helpful to healthcare professionals .
Nonetheless, the market for health care apps is very fragmented; many are designed for very specific contexts or low-incidence diseases. To our knowledge, no randomized studies have assessed the effectiveness of smoking cessation attempts in young people motivated to stop smoking using a smartphone app.
The objective of the present study is to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention that incorporates a smartphone app specifically designed to reduce the prevalence of tobacco consumption in motivated young adults aged 18 to 30 years.