News / Health

Texting Could Help Smokers Quit

A new study shows that texting can be an effective tool to help quit smoking.
A new study shows that texting can be an effective tool to help quit smoking.

Related Articles

Video Gene Tests May Improve Lung Cancer Care

New treatment relies on test to identify damaged genes called oncogenes that allow cancer cells to grow and spread

WHO: High Tobacco Taxes Can Save Millions of Lives

The World Health Organization reports tobacco kills nearly eight million people a year, including more than 600,000 non-smokers dying from breathing secondhand smoke

Video Russia Attacks Smoking With Big Guns

With 44 million smokers, outdone only by China, India and Indonesia, Russia has declared war on tobacco with new regulations, stiff fines
VOA News
Those struggling to quit smoking may find that success is just a text message away.
A study done by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., showed that smokers who used a text-messaging program to help them quit were more than two times as successful at quitting compared to those who did not get assistance from text messages.
Text message assistance operates by giving advice, reminders and techniques to aid smokers in their attempts to quit.
The service also can send smokers games that could distract a user until the craving to smoke subsides. Users who are having a craving for a cigarette can simply text “crave” or stats” to the service to initiate a response.
According to researchers at Milken Institute SPH, more than 75,000 people have enrolled in one such service called Text2Quit.
“Text messages seem to give smokers the constant reminders they need to stay focused on quitting,” Lorien C. Abroms, an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH and the lead author of the study, said in a statement.
“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,” wrote Abroms, who was a lead designer of the Text2Quit program.
For the study, Abroms and her colleagues recruited 503 smokers from the Internet. Some of them received text messages via Text2Quit, while others received self-help material about quitting smoking.
After six months, researchers said they contacted participants to see who was successful in stopping smoking. They found that 11 percent of smokers who got the text messages had quit, while only 5 percent of the controls had given up the habit.
To make sure those who said they had quit really had, researchers also took saliva samples from some. Among those who were tested, the "quit rate" also was double that of the control group.
In 2011, a similar study was done in England and yielded the same results.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking causes 480,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Globally, the CDC says more than 5 million people die from tobacco use, a number it says will rise to 8 million by 2030.
While the Milken Institute SPH appears to show promise, more studies need to be done, however, as this research only involved people who were already “highly motivated to quit and those that were already searching for quit-smoking information on the Internet.”
For example, more research needs to be done on how well text-messaging programs work in populations “less digitally connected” -- and also in those with lower motivation to quit.
The researchers also will compare their findings with other text messaging services, such as the National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT, launched in 2011.

The study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute, appeared online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Photo via Flickr.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs