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Mona Hersi and Gregory Traversy contributed equally to this work.
Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of cancer, preventable death, and disability. Smoking cessation can increase life expectancy by nearly a decade if achieved in the third or fourth decades of life. Various stop smoking interventions are available including pharmacotherapies, electronic cigarettes, behavioural support, and alternative therapies. This protocol outlines an evidence review which will evaluate the benefits and harms of stop smoking interventions in adults.
The evidence review will consist of two stages. First, an overview of systematic reviews evaluating the benefits and harms of various stop smoking interventions delivered in or referred from the primary care setting will be conducted. The second stage will involve updating a systematic review on electronic cigarettes identified in the overview; randomized controlled trials will be considered for outcomes relating to benefits while randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials, and comparative observational studies will be considered for evaluating harms. Search strategies will be developed and peer-reviewed by medical information specialists. The search strategy for the updated review on e-cigarettes will be developed using that of the candidate systematic review. The MEDLINE®, PsycINFO, Embase, and the Cochrane Library electronic databases will be searched as of 2008 for the overview of reviews and from the last search date of the selected review for the updated review. Organizational websites and trial registries will be searched for unpublished or ongoing reviews/studies. Two reviewers will independently screen the title and abstracts of citations using the liberal accelerated method. Full-text screening will be performed independently by two reviewers. Extracted data will be verified by a second reviewer. Disagreements regarding full-text screening and data extraction will be resolved by consensus or third-party adjudication. The methodological quality of systematic reviews, risk of bias of randomized and non-randomized trials, and methodological quality of cohort studies will be evaluated using AMSTAR 2, the Cochrane risk of bias tool, and a modified version of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network critical appraisal tool, respectively. The GRADE framework will be used to assess the quality of the evidence for outcomes.
The evidence review will evaluate the benefits and harms of various stop smoking interventions for adults. Findings will be used to inform a national tobacco cessation guideline by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
Systematic review registration
PROSPERO (CRD42018099691, CRD42018099692)