Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Text message support for smokers doubles quit rates

Date:
June 30, 2011
Source:
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Summary:
Cell phones could hold the key to people giving up smoking after a program involving sending motivational and supportive text messages to smokers doubled quit rates at six months.

Cell phones could hold the key to people giving up smoking after a programme involving sending motivational and supportive text messages to smokers doubled quit rates at six months.

The findings of the txt2stop trial, which was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and funded by the Medical Research Council, are published in The Lancet June 29.

Text messaging is an innovative approach to the deadly problem of smoking, which is estimated to cause more than five million deaths each year worldwide. Putting cigarettes out for good has huge implications for health but although two out of three smokers would like to give up, they often fail. Almost 6,000 people took part in the txt2stop trial, which evaluated this new way of helping smokers beat their addiction.

The study examined the long-term effects of specially-designed text messages by testing the levels of cotinine (a chemical found in tobacco) found in participants' saliva after they reported they had stopped smoking for six months.

A total of 5,800 smokers were randomly allocated to the txt2stop programme or a control group. The txt2stop group received five text messages a day for the first five weeks and then three per week for the next 26 weeks with a personalised system which also allowed people to receive instant messages at times of need by texting the word 'crave' or 'Lapse'.

The messages, which were developed with input from smokers and smoking cessation professionals, encouraged participants to persevere and focused on their success so far. Examples of the messages include:

  • "This is it! -- QUIT DAY, throw away all your fags. TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you can do it!"
  • "Cravings last less than 5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over."

Control group participants received fortnightly text messages thanking them for taking part in the trial. The results showed that continuous abstinence -- verified by chemical tests -- at six months was significantly increased in the txt2stop group -- 10.7% success txt2stop versus 4.9% success control.

The study found txt2stop worked well for all ages and across all social groups, with the authors concluding: "Mobile phone text messaging smoking cessation support doubles quit rates at six months."

LSHTM clinical lecturer and GP Dr Caroline Free, who led the research, says: "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."

Professor Max Parmar, director of the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit, says: "Smoking kills more than five million people each year, and two out of every three smokers have said at some point that they would like to give up. 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. The MRC has been tackling the problem of smoking for over half a century, and we're committed to funding research that has the potential to change so many people's lives."

Glyn Mcintosh, Director of Development & Communications at QUIT, which helped develop the text messages and find volunteers for the study, says: "We are delighted with the results and hope that text motivation will now become a standard part of the quitting process."

Funding for txt2stop was provided by the UK Medical Research Council. Other collaborators included QUIT, a UK charity which helps smokers who want to give up, and Primary Care Research Networks. Cancer Research UK funded the pilot study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Caroline Free et al. Smoking cessation support delivered via mobile phone text messaging (txt2stop): a single-blind, randomised trial. The Lancet, June 30, 2011 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60701-0

Cite This Page:

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Text message support for smokers doubles quit rates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629203027.htm>.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (2011, June 30). Text message support for smokers doubles quit rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629203027.htm
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Text message support for smokers doubles quit rates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629203027.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins