Motivational Text Messages May Help Smokers
WEDNESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Motivational text
messages more than double the odds that smokers will be able to
kick the habit, new research suggests.
The study included 5,800 smokers in the United Kingdom who
wanted to quit and were assigned to either a group who received
motivational text messages (2,915 participants) or a control group
who received non-motivational text messages (2,885
The motivational messages sent to those in the so-called
txt2stop group included encouragement, help dealing with cravings,
and advice on preventing weight gain while quitting smoking. For
example, the message about cravings said: "Cravings last less than
5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a
drink slowly until the craving is over."
The non-motivational messages said things not connected to the
study, such as thanking people for taking part or asking for
confirmation of contact details, according to the report published
online June 29 in
The participants' saliva was tested to verify quit rates. Those
who received motivational messages were more than twice as likely
to quit as those in the control group -- 10.7 percent versus 4.9
percent. The findings suggest that motivational texting should be
added to existing techniques used to help people quit smoking,
concluded Dr. Caroline Free, of the London School of Hygiene and
Tropical Medicine, and colleagues.
"Text messages are a very convenient way for smokers to receive support to quit. People described txt2stop as like having a 'friend' encouraging them or an 'angel on their shoulder.' It helped people resist the temptation to smoke," Free said in a journal news release.
The American Cancer Society offers a
guide to quitting smoking.
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