Text Messages Could Help Smokers Kick The Habit

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News Posted: Thu, Oct 8 2009 6:11 PM
If you're looking for support while trying to stop smoking,an international study suggests text messaging could help.Four trials conducted in New Zealand, Britain, and Norway found that programsto help people stop smoking that included text messages with advice doubled thechances a person would be able to quit smoking for up to a year.

The trials involved 2,600 smokers. During the trials, textmessages were used as a way to give smokers advice, encouragement, and support.For example, if a user found himself craving nicotine, he could text"crave" to the program and receive advice on what to do.

"We know that stopping smoking can be really difficultand most people take several attempts to quit successfully," researcherRobyn Whittaker from the University of Auckland in New Zealand told ReutersHealth. "It is important to be able to offer lots of different options forextra support."



Two of the four studies considered programs that involvedonly text messages. These studies showed the text message programs doubled thechances smokers would quit over six weeks. The other two studies focused on a programin Norway that uses text messages, emails, and a dedicated Web site. Thesestudies found that smokers who used the program were twice as likely to besmoke-free for up to one year.

According to Whittaker, only about 5% of smokers are able tokick the habit without any help. Txt2Quit, one of the programs in the study, isrunning in New Zealand with government funding. This program automaticallysends users two to three text messages per day shortly before a designated quitdate and for a month afterwards. Of the people who took part in the program'sfirst year, one-third did not smoke four weeks after their quit date. Thatfigure dropped to 16% after 22 weeks.

Although the studies found the majority of smokers takingpart in the studies did not succeed in quitting, regardless of whether they hadtext messaging help, the studies do show that text messages could be anothertool in the smoking-cessation arsenal. They also show that text message supportprograms could be effective for some people because the programs providesupport when cravings strike. As Whittaker put it, "The frequent messagescan also act as a good reminder and motivation to keep going."
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"Although the studies found the majority of smokers taking part in the studies did not succeed in quitting, regardless of whether they had text messaging help..."

I have some problems with this study. How do we know that getting text messages is any more effective than an email, phone call, mail letter with similar content?

However, it seems to be better than not having any support mechanism in place. For the people who thought of it, it's a good way of making money with little effort.

Many smokes also have motive cues, and texting might be one way of keeping your fingers busy when your craving hits you.

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"Many smokes also have motive cues, and texting might be one way of keeping your fingers busy when your craving hits you."

Actually, that's what I thought the article meant. Addicting to smoking? Replace that with a texting addiction. But this makes more sense and could be useful - assuming they have the will power to text for advice.

Hello

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Perhaps THIS will help kick that nasty habit.Big Smile



 SPAM-posters beware! ®

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Bua ha ha, I love the Onion. So offensive but funny.

Hello

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Soupstyle replied on Fri, Oct 9 2009 10:03 PM

I can see the headlines now!

"Smokers quit smoking via text messaging!"

next line of article

"due to death in car crashes because of distracting text messages"

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