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Have you taken Varenicline to quit smoking? Seeking participants.


Researcher bios and how their research backgrounds relate to this study

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in Canada. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing several cancers and smoking-related diseases. Of the approved smoking cessation medications, varenicline is the most effective. Unfortunately, as with many medications, adherence to varenicline is a problem, and poor medication adherence is associated with lower smoking abstinence. The use of new technologies has been recognized as essential to achieving personalized, evidence-based, and economically viable healthcare. Chatbots can provide tailored support by tracking a patient’s medication regimen, offering reminders, engaging in motivating conversations, and answering questions about medication use, including common side effects. These features are useful but have not been tested or scaled up. Developing this technology is particularly important at the present moment, as the COVID-19 pandemic increases the demand for virtual and digital healthcare services, a chatbot could help support patient care and treatment management. Given the scarcity of interventions for medication adherence developed using chatbots, the overall aim is to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether a full-randomized control trial (RCT) is appropriate. As a first step, this study focuses on the Discovery Phase, which aims to conduct a qualitative interview to understand patient experience with varenicline adherence in order to inform the initial development of the chatbot.

Purpose of this research project

The overall objective of the research study is to co-create and evaluate a theory-informed, evidence-based, patient-centered chatbot aimed at helping people adhere to their varenicline regimen. The purpose of this study specifically is to gather relevant information to understand patient experiences with using varenicline including i) identifying common patient concerns with using the medication for nicotine dependence and ii) identifying facilitators and barriers of taking varenicline to help inform the design and content a chatbot.

How this research will help LGBT2SQ people and communities

Members of LGBTQI2S+ communities continue to have higher rates of tobacco use while other populations have either remained the same or decreased. We are currently designing a chatbot to help people adhere to the varenicline treatment, which is the most successful smoking cessation medication. We want to make sure the chatbot serves the needs of the LGBTQI2S+ communities. While the study may not have a direct benefit to participants at this time, the information gathered through this study will help aid the development of a chatbot that can assist people in adhering to their varencline regimen, which may become beneficial to the LGBT2SQ people in the future.


Individuals from all genders will be included if they are:
• Currently taking varenicline to quit smoking or self-identifying as non-adherent to their varenicline treatment in the last six months
• Age 18 years or older
• Speak/read English
• Have a smartphone with data plan (minimum requirement is an Android 7 or IOS 10).


Participants will receive a $30 gift card to their choice from as a thank you for your participation. Participants will be emailed the gift card upon completion of the interview.

Mitigation measures

There are no known risks associated with taking part in the interview. Please note that some questions ask that you reflect on the medications you have missed. This may cause you some mental discomfort. You may decline to answer any question and may end the interview at any time.

Promoting the Study

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health are looking for participants to take part in a 60-minute interview to understand their experiences of taking Varenicline to quit smoking. The study will help inform the development of a chatbot to help people stay on track with taking their medication. We are seeking participants who: Are 18 years or older. Speak/read English. Have a smart phone with a data plan. Are currently taking or have taken Varenicline in the last 6 months to quit smoking. Compensation provided. To participate, please email or call 416-535-8501 ext. 37439

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Nov 24

Thank you to all who attended #RHOInConvo! We were glad to see so many people who care about 2SLGBTQ health care. T……