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Text messages help smokers quit

30th June 2011

Research has suggested that text messages sent to smoker’s mobile phones can help them quit the habit.

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Findings published in the Lancet suggested that motivational SMS services can double an individual’s chances of giving up tobacco.

Dr Caroline Free from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led the trial, which was funded by the Medical Research Council.

She said: “Text messages are a very convenient way for smokers to receive support to quit. People described txt2stop as being like having a 'friend' encouraging them or an 'angel on their shoulder'. It helped people resist the temptation to smoke.”

The “txt2stop” trial tested the effects of inspirational text messages designed to encourage quitting on almost 3,000 smokers.

Those taking part were found to be twice as likely to kick their habit as another group sent texts unrelated to smoking.

The messages offered encouragement to those wanting to give up, leading up to a “quit day.”

The smokers received five texts every day for five weeks, followed by three per week for the next six months.

People were able to receive instant messages at times of need by texting the word “crave” or “lapse”.

Professor Max Parmer, director of the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit, said: “By carrying out a large scale trial like this to see whether text messages can help people truly free themselves of their addiction, this research has shown that texting could be a powerful tool to help people to walk away from cigarettes for good.”

 

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