Can texting help you quit smoking?

July 8, 2011

Will text messages now find a place among smoking cessation methods such as nicotine gum? New research shows that smokers who received encouraging text messages through a program called “txt2stop” were twice as likely to quit smoking after a period of six months, compared to smokers who did not receive the motivational text messages.

The study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, consisted of 5,800 smokers divided into two groups. One group received supportive text messages related to the quitting process, while the other group received text messages thanking them for being in the study.

After the six month period, the participants were tested for traces of nicotine in their saliva through the presence of a chemical called cotinine. Of the 2,911 smokers who received the motivational text messages, 10.7 percent were found to be smoke free, compared to only 4.9 percent of the 2,881 smokers in the control group.

According to CNET, txt2stop worked well among all age and social groups in the study.

The researchers note that txt2stop was not the only support tool used by the study’s participants. TIME reports almost 40 percent of the smokers used other quitting methods in addition to texting.

This study is published in The Lancet.


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