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Text messaging program helps smokers fight the urge to light up
Date:6/5/2014

program called Text2Quit or self-help material aimed at getting smokers to quit.

The text messages in the Text2Quit program are interactive and give smokers advice but they also allow participants to ask for more help or to reset a quit date if they need more time. Smokers who have trouble fighting off an urge can text in and get a tip or a game that might help distract them until the craving goes away, Abroms said.

At the end of six months, the researchers sent out a survey to find out how many people in each group had stopped smoking. They found that people using the text-messaging program had a much higher likelihood of quitting compared to the control group, a finding that suggests that text-messaging programs can provide an important boost for people struggling with a tobacco habit.

However, self-reports of smokers can be misleading. To verify the positive results, the researchers collected a sample of saliva from smokers who reported quitting and tested it to see if it showed any evidence of a nicotine byproduct called cotinine. The quit rates for people with biochemically confirmed abstinence at the six month mark were still two times higher than the control group, Abroms said.

This study adds to other evidence suggesting that stop-smoking text-messaging programs are a promising tool, Abroms says.

Still many questions remain to be answered. This study looked at only people who were already highly motivated to quit and those that were already searching for quit-smoking information on the Internet. Additional studies will have to be done to verify that text-messaging programs do in fact work in less digitally connected populations and in those with lower levels of motivation to quit. In addition, researchers will have to compare this text-messaging program with others now in use such as SmokefreeTXT, which was launched by the National Cancer Institute in 2011.


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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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