October 8, 2009

Text Messages Could Help Smokers Kick The Habit

Smokers trying to quit may gain the motivation they need through text messages, according to a new study.

In the study released on Tuesday, researchers conducted reviews of four clinical trials for stop-smoking programs in New Zealand, the UK and Norway, which used text messages in their effort to help smokers kick the habit.

The programs used text messaging to offer smokers with daily advice as well as instant advice when they were faced with cravings to smoke again.

For instance, participants of the programs could text "crave" to their support program, and they would instantly receive texts advising them on methods to control their cravings.

Researchers conducted two studies on programs that only involved text messages as well as two studies on a Norwegian program that employed a variety of technological approaches, including emails, text messages and a Web site.

Writing in the Cochrane Library, researchers concluded that programs that only involved text messages doubled the odds of smokers quitting for six weeks, while participants of the Norway program were twice as likely to quit smoking for up to one year.

"We know that stopping smoking can be really difficult and most people take several attempts to quit successfully," lead researcher Dr. Robyn Whittaker, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand told Reuters Health.

"And so I think it is important to be able to offer lots of different options for extra support."

In addition to providing smokers who want to quit with instant advice on how to control their cravings, text messages "can also act as a good reminder and motivation to keep going," said Whittaker.


On the Net: