Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Text messaging program helps smokers fight the urge to light up


Mobile phone program doubles the chances that smokers will quit, according to new study

More than 11 percent of smokers who used a text- messaging program to help them quit did so and remained smoke free at the end of a six- month study as compared to just 5 percent of controls, according to a new report by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH.)

Text2Quit Smartphone Message

This image shows a smart phone with a sample Text2Quit message held by lead researcher Lorien Abroms at the George Washington University.

Credit: William Atkins/George Washington University

"Text messages seem to give smokers the constant reminders they need to stay focused on quitting," says Lorien C. Abroms, ScD, MA, an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH and the lead author of the study. "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."

A new Surgeon General's report on smoking concludes that cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans every year. Smokers trying to quit can turn to the tried-and-true methods like phone counseling through a quit line and nicotine replacement therapies, but increasingly the evidence is building for using text messaging on mobile phones.

... more about:
»Cancer »Health »Master »cigarette »fight »nicotine »therapies

Text-messaging programs, like Text2Quit, work by sending advice, reminders and tips that help smokers resist the craving for a cigarette and stick to a quit date. More than 75,000 people in the United States have enrolled in the Text2Quit program through quit lines and enrollment is on the rise.

Yet despite the widespread use of anti-smoking apps and texting programs, there had been no long-term studies of such programs in the United States. Most of the existing research on such programs were small in size, lacked a control group, and did not biochemically verify smoking status, Abroms said.

To help address such gaps, Abroms and her colleagues decided to carry out a large, randomized trial of a text-messaging program. They recruited 503 smokers on the internet and randomized them to receive either a text-messaging program called Text2Quit or self-help material aimed at getting smokers to quit.

The text messages in the Text2Quit program are interactive and give smokers advice but they also allow participants to ask for more help or to reset a quit date if they need more time. Smokers who have trouble fighting off an urge can text in and get a tip or a game that might help distract them until the craving goes away, Abroms said.

At the end of six months, the researchers sent out a survey to find out how many people in each group had stopped smoking. They found that people using the text-messaging program had a much higher likelihood of quitting compared to the control group, a finding that suggests that text-messaging programs can provide an important boost for people struggling with a tobacco habit.

However, self-reports of smokers can be misleading. To verify the positive results, the researchers collected a sample of saliva from smokers who reported quitting and tested it to see if it showed any evidence of a nicotine byproduct called cotinine. The quit rates for people with biochemically confirmed abstinence at the six month mark were still two times higher than the control group, Abroms said.

This study adds to other evidence suggesting that stop-smoking text-messaging programs are a promising tool, Abroms says.

Still many questions remain to be answered. This study looked at only people who were already highly motivated to quit and those that were already searching for quit-smoking information on the Internet. Additional studies will have to be done to verify that text-messaging programs do in fact work in less digitally connected populations and in those with lower levels of motivation to quit. In addition, researchers will have to compare this text-messaging program with others now in use such as SmokefreeTXT, which was launched by the National Cancer Institute in 2011.


The study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute, appeared online June 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Abroms was the lead author of the study and the lead designer of the Text2Quit program. Text2Quit has been licensed by the George Washington University to the firm Voxiva, Inc., a pioneer in interactive mobile health programs.

About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University:

Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, nearly 1,400 students from almost every U.S. state and more than 43 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.

Kathy Fackelmann | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Cancer Health Master cigarette fight nicotine therapies

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht University of California Scientists Create Malaria-Blocking Mosquitoes
30.11.2015 | University of California, Irvine

nachricht ARTORG and Inselspital develop artificial pancreas
26.11.2015 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Teamplay IT solution enables more efficient use of protocols

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Greater efficiency and potentially reduced costs with new MRI applications

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Modular syngo.plaza as a comprehensive solution – even for enterprise radiology

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

More VideoLinks >>>