Study Links Text Messages and E-mails to Smoking Cessation

Findings suggest greater short-term abstinence, but long-term effects need further study
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- While short-term text message mobile phone interventions have been effective, further research needs to be completed to determine whether messages sent over mobile phones can help individuals with smoking cessation over the long term, according to research published online Oct. 7 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Robyn Whittaker, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues analyzed data from four trials completed in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Norway. Interventions included text messages with advice and encouragement sent regularly to smokers' mobile phones or text messages to the phones in conjunction with e-mails.

The researchers found that the mobile phone interventions appeared to increase the prevalence of self-reported smoking abstinence over the short term (at four weeks after cessation or six weeks after randomization). Data from the trials featuring Internet and text messaging revealed an increase in long-term self-reported quitting, but the modes of delivery could not be evaluated separately in these studies due to the complexity of the approaches.

"More rigorous studies of the long-term effects of mobile phone-based cessation interventions are needed to determine if the promising short-term effects are maintained," the authors conclude.

Two co-authors reported being involved in studies used in this analysis.


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