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Text Message That Might Just Make you Quit Smoking

Let's Quit Smoking

Cigarette smoking is one of the most common health detriments of the modern day, with hundreds of ads produced on a constant basis to deter the population from buying that pack and inhaling that nicotine induced chemical wrap.


Therapies to help to quit smoking exist by the dozen. Alternatives are given and the harmful effects of smoking are made quite clear to the public. And yet, so many smoke. Many are afflicted by diseases caused by that expensive packet in the pocket. Current research seems to be focusing on the behavioral interventions that can be delivered to prevent smoking or encourage active users to quit the nicotine. One of these new creations is the use of text message.

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Technology is such a lovely thing when used for one’s good. It is, of course, without a doubt doing good when it’s used to better the health of the active population of a country. Technology tailored to ones needs? Now that must be an innovative idea indeed. Simply, the newest approach to help you quit is an 8-week intervention program designed to have you connected to peers in similar situation, as you receive text messages encouraging you throughout the day, tailored to your specific thought processes and behaviour. As such, your phone now acts like your mother when you were but an infant, keeping track of your every step and ensuring your steps do not stray from the road to healthy living.

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These direct text messages focussed on quitting smoking were given the name TXT. The control group received texts known as MOJO, which were non-smoking related motivational pieces sent daily to the phone.

The study tracked men and women of different ethnicities, majority being women, the average age being around 30. Those who were eligible smoked an average of 16.5 cigarettes a day. Good god, that’s a lot of chemicals to be ingesting and way too much to be polluting the air around you. The harms of the second-hand smoke from that, especially of many of these women have children, is unfathomable.

The results? Technology most definitely comes in handy when considering behaviour modification. Smoking, after all, is part of behaviour. Grabbing that pack from your pocket, pulling out a thin rolled up piece of paper, and lighting it up, held lightly in your hand as you stand around and chatter is most certainly learned from society, often from a young age through peer pressure. The need to feel cool doesn’t dampen as you grow and the behaviour only deepens, becoming pure habit. As such, it’s no wonder that those receiving the TXT had a 23% success rate in quitting, compared to the 10% of MOJO receivers. 3 months later, it was 20% versus 4.3%, while a follow up 6 months later showed 16.7% abstinence versus 3.6%. Quite interesting.

In the end, gender and race don’t matter in the fight against tobacco use. It’s a battle that must be won at the end of the day, if we are to protect the next generations from the harmful effects of what is socially seen as quite acceptable. This is the fight against cigarette smoking and the artillery has just become more sophisticated. March on, science, to better discoveries.

Reference: APA