Texting Helps to Quit Smoking

by Jenny Novac on June 9, 2014

Smoking Woman

These days there are a lot of smoking cessations tools for those who want to quit: nicotine patches, nicotine gums, medications, quit smoking lines, support groups, quit smoking applications for smartphones. Recently one more tool appeared. Text messaging.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study which found that getting advice via text messages increased two times the chances to a successful quitting in comparison with getting the info via brochures. It was concluded that texting is most effective method to get rid of the habit.

During the experiment smokers were receiving personalized texts and emails with quit smoking info. For that purpose there was created a special program called Text2Quit which sent them these messages.

In moments of weakness, smokers could send a message with word “CRAVE” in order to get tips on how they may fight cravings. Sending the word “STATS” could help them get an update on their progress.

Lorien Abrons, a professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health in Washington, D.C, one of authors of the program, says that the idea of using text messages came naturally as cellphones are widespread today and she started developing the program. Text2Quit was launched in 2012 and since then 120,000 people used it.

During the experiment, the authors promoted Text2Quit via advertising on the web and there were recruited 503 people. Besides this there were printed brochures and distributed via mail which encouraged people to search for self-help on the web.

The experiment lasted 6 months and in the end almost 11% of smokers who used  Text2Quit had successfully quit. Among those who used self-help materials only 5% had quit smoking cigarettes. These results made the researchers conclude that text messaging is most effective tool in smoking cessation. Besides this, another proven effective methods are nicotine patches and quit smoking lines.

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