Text Messaging Can Help Smokers Stop Smoking

Automated text messages can significantly increase continued abstinence in smokers

THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- An automated mobile phone text messaging smoking cessation program (txt2stop) can significantly improve continued abstinence in smokers, according to a study published online June 30 in The Lancet.

Caroline Free, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated the effect of txt2stop on continuous abstinence in 5,800 smokers. A total of 2,915 smokers were randomized to receive the txt2stop intervention (motivational messages and behavioral-change support) and 2,885 to receive text messages unrelated to quitting (control group). The intervention and control text messages were automatically generated according to the allocation. Self-reported continuous smoking abstinence, biochemically verified at six months, was the main outcome studied. Primary outcome data was available for 5,524 participants.

The investigators found a significantly greater increase in biochemically verified continuous abstinence at six months in the txt2stop group than in controls (10.7 versus 4.9 percent; relative risk, 2.20). Similar results were obtained when participants lost to follow-up were treated as smokers, and on excluding them from the analysis. No significant heterogeneity was observed in any of the pre-specified subgroups.

"Our finding that the txt2stop intervention increased biochemically verified smoking cessation at six months, raises the possibility that mobile-technology-based interventions might be effective in changing other behavioral risk factors for diseases," the authors write.

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