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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supportive Texts to Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is one of the hardest habits to quit despite there being a number of aids at one's disposal. Patches, Gums, inhalers, e-cigarettes, and medications are the most common aids in the battle to quit, yet it can still be very difficult.

A new study has found that receiving supportive text messages on your phone can be be helpful when trying to quit. Five different studies were evaluated by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. The studies included over 9,000 people who were trying to quit smoking. Some of the study's participants received texts up to several times a day, containing quitting advice or motivational messages. While the others received less frequent text messages, as well as online information or support over the phone.

Receiving text messages doubled the odds of quitting smoking within six months, from 4 to 5 percent in the group receiving fewer text messages or none at all, to 6 to 10 percent of those who received more frequent text messages, according to the researchers in an NPR report.

Smokers who received regular text messages started with an online support system, and set a quit date. When the day arrived, they received text messages such as:

“Today, you should get rid of all the ashtrays in the house or car; you should have a plan because it’s going to be hard in the first few days; make sure you have a plan to get support from friends and family.”

A smoker who texted the word “crave” in response to a supportive text would receive tips about how to work through cravings, such as “take a walk” or “eat a little something.”

The findings are published in the Cochrane Review.
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