News Thursday June 30, 2011

Supportive text messages aid smoking cessation success, study suggests

People who are trying to quit smoking are more than twice as likely to quit successfully if they receive supportive text messages, a study has shown.

The UK study, which was published in The Lancet, observed almost 6,000 participants who wanted to quit smoking. The participants were split into two groups, with one group receiving the text messages, as part of the txt2stop programme, and the other group receiving text messages that were not related to smoking.

The results showed that 10.7% of those who were sent the supportive messages were still abstaining from smoking after six months, compared to 4.9% who did not receive the same messages. The kinds of messages that were sent via text included: “This is it! - QUIT DAY, throw away all your fags. TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you can do it!” The participants were also able to text back if they required if they needed personal advice, for example if they had cravings.

The positive results of the study indicate the potential success of these kinds of methods to help people to quit smoking. The study, which was funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the Primary Care Research Networks, advises that this kind of programme should be “considered for inclusion in smoking cessation services”.

Currently, those who are attempting to quit smoking can use quit smoking helplines for support as well as families and friends. Many people also choose to use nicotine replacement therapies like patches or gum. Smoking cessation medications such as Champix are also a popular option.

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