Hot Topics; Cellphone messages may help smokers quitText and video messages designed to help people quit smoking that come in on their cellphones nearly doubled the success rate for attempted quitters compared to people who didn’t have such assistance, according to a New Zealand study.
By: Reuters, INFORUM
Text and video messages designed to help people quit smoking that come in on their cellphones nearly doubled the success rate for attempted quitters compared to people who didn’t have such assistance, according to a New Zealand study.
Researchers, whose work was published in The Cochrane Library, found that 9 percent of would-be quitters made it without cigarettes for at least six months when reminded and encouraged through cellphone messages, compared to 5 percent who went it alone.
“We can’t say all text messaging interventions are going to work,” said lead author Robyn Whittaker, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
“But it certainly shows there’s reason to believe that mobile phone-based interventions are a good option to think about adding to your portfolio of smoking cessation services.”
Cellphone programs included in the review involved a text or video sent to smokers each day for several weeks, preparing them for their designated quit day with motivation and advice.
Once the quit day arrived, participants often received multiple messages a day for weeks, offering encouragement, tips on getting through cravings and additional resources to quit again after a relapse.
In an early review of the research several years ago, Whittaker and her colleagues found such interventions were helpful in the first few weeks of quitting, but there wasn’t enough evidence to say whether they had any impact beyond that.
In their new analysis, the group was able to include three more studies for a total of five, comparing cellphone messaging to no extra help. Whittaker and other review authors were involved in most of these original studies.
The reports included a total of 9,100 smokers who were tracked for six months.
Out of 4,730 people assigned to a text or video messaging program, 444 managed to kick the habit. Among the 4,370 who didn’t receive any additional services, 240 stopped smoking for six months.