Although, smokers are aware of the health risks associated with the use of tobacco products, quitting smoking is easier said than done. If you're a smoker and you want to increase your chances of ditching your smoking habits, you might want to use a text messaging program designed to provide help and counseling to smokers who want to kick the habit.
Scientific evidence shows that a smoking cessation program called Text2Quit, which sends reminders, tips and support to smokers via text to help them manage their cravings, can be an effective tool to quit smoking.
For the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on June 5, researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University in Washington recruited more than 500 smokers who either participated in the Text2Quit program or used a self-help material designed for smokers who want to be smoke-free.
Six months later, the researchers found that the participants who were enrolled to the text-based counseling program were more likely to quit smoking than those who used a self-help material. Of those using Text2Quit, 11 percent quit smoking and remained smoke-free until the study ended while only five percent of those who used the self-help material managed to do the same.
The researchers analyzed the saliva samples from the participants to look for a nicotine byproduct and verify results and these showed that there were twice as many participants in the Text2Quit group who quit as those in the self-help material group suggesting that quitting smoking using the text based program is more effective than reading self-help materials.
Study author Lorien Abroms, from The George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, who was also behind the program, said that although there are other recognized smoking cessation therapies in the U.S., evidence suggests that using text messaging on cellphones can also be an effective tool for those who want to quit smoking.
"Text messages seem to give smokers the constant reminders they need to stay focused on quitting," said Abroms. "However, additional studies must be done to confirm this result and to look at how these programs work when coupled with other established anti-smoking therapies."
The Text2Quit program, which was launched in 2012 and has been availed of by about 120,000 individuals, sends personalized messages that are tailored to the enrolled smoker's quit date and smoking profile such as the medications used and smoking triggers. The program costs $29.99 for a four-month subscription that would entitle the enrollee to have access to a web portal and receive emails and text messages.