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Texting Could Help Smokers ‘Butt-Out’ For Good

Dorathy Gass

While texting and driving can be out right dangerous, a new study is claiming that it might be able to help smokers quit the terrible habit once and for all. According to Reuters  a group of New Zealand researchers discovered that certain text and video messages targeted to help individuals ‘butt-out’ for good can double their success rate when trying to quit smoking, versus those who don’t get the same kind of help.

The new study, which was led by Robyn Whittaker, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and published in The Cochrane Library, revealed that nine percent of people who participated in the recent study were able to refrain from smoking for approximately six months when they received encouraging mobile texts; versus the five percent that tried quitting on their own.

Mobile programs geared at helping smokers quit were included in the research and involved a text or video sent daily to those participants who were trying to quit smoking, for several weeks in a row. The programs helped prepare the individuals for the first day they planned on quitting, with insightful tips, and motivation. After that first day followed, individuals were then sent a variety of encouraging and motivating messages daily, including advice on how to handle cravings, and where to go if they suffered a relapse; plus, how to start over with their plan to quit if they fell off the wagon.

In previous research conducted several years ago, the New Zealand group found that this strategy helped with smokers trying to quit in the initial few weeks of breaking the habit; but there was no concrete evidence to reveal anything more beyond that point. In this new research study, three additional studies were added comparing text and video mobile message programs with individuals who were not receiving this kind of help.

The study monitored 9,100 smokers for six months. There were 4,730 that participated in the text or video messaging program; with 444 individuals who successfully quit smoking. Alternatively, of those other 4,370 smokers who did not partake in the mobile messaging program, only 240 stopped smoking for six months on their own.

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