Texting support makes smokers more likely to quit
People who are trying to quit smoking may have a better success rate when receiving support through a text-messaging service, according to a new study.
Scientists at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. tested the effects of a text-messaging service on people who were trying to quit smoking. The service, developed by GWU behavioral scientist Lorien Abroms, is called text2quit and works by sending constant reminders, encouraging messages and by allowing the users to distract themselves with interactive tools. About 500 participants were recruited, half of whom participated in text2quit and the other half whom received a booklet on smoking cessation from the National Cancer Institute titled “Clearing the Air.” The researchers then collected data on the participants’ progress after one, three and six months.
The results, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, did not show a high overall success rate from either the text-message service or the booklet. However, while only 5 percent of the people who received the booklet were able to quit, 11 percent of the people who used text2quit ended up smoke-free after six months. The researchers concluded that text programs like text2quit may be an effective tool due to the immediacy of support during times of weakness.