SMS to Quit Smoking

It seems that smokers who want to quit, may be helped by receiving motivational SMS’s on their phones.  Indeed, a study reported in The Lancet Medical Journal found that this method “doubles their chances of giving up.”  In a trial entitled ‘txt2stop’, 3,000 smokers were put to the challenge.


Of course, these were clever text messages and had been designed with the help of smokers. As well, advice was given on how to avoid potential weight gain and what to do when the craving hits.  The messages were either focused on a ‘you can do it’ approach,  how to fight cravings, or other big issues smokers are forced to encounter when trying to quit.  Smokers received five SMS’s a day for five weeks and then three a week for the following six months.


And it seemed this was for real as saliva tests confirmed how many smokers had “managed to stop smoking for six months.”  Further, there was a success rate of 10.7 percent for those who got the SMS’s as opposed to 4.9 percent who weren’t getting the messages.  As leader of the trial Dr. Caroline Free (of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) noted, “text messages are a very convenient way for smokers to receive support to quit. People described txt2stop as being like having a ‘friend’ encouraging them or an ‘angel on their shoulder’. It helped people resist the temptation to smoke.”