A program from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine that provided positive feedback via phone service aided hundreds
Smokers trying to quit who took part in in a text messaging program called txt2stop more than doubled their chance of kicking the habit. Some smokers said that the text messages were like having an angel on their shoulder.
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Fully 10.7 percent of smokers who received the text messages succeeded at quitting smoking, compared to 4.9 percent of smokers who received only generic text messages. Quitting was defined as six months of not smoking, with no more than five cigarettes smoked during this period. This was biochemically verified.
The study started with 5,800 smokers, age 16 or older, who were willing to make an attempt to quit smoking within the next month. Half received supportive and encouraging text messages designed to help them stay tobacco-free, five messages a day for the first five weeks and then three messages a week for the next 26 weeks. The other half received text messages every 14 days thanking them for taking part in the study.
Messages covered a wide range of topics. Their goal was to provide positive feedback that would help smokers persevere in their attempt to quit. Some emphasized the benefits of quitting, while others offered specific advice on how to quit. They advised participants to get get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters and to avoid environments where they would normally smoke. Many encouraged participants to focus on their successes in quitting, not the failures. Others encouraged them to identify the challenges of quitting and make plans to overcome these challenges.