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'Do U Smoke?' Text Messages Can Help You Quit

Study Shows Text Messages Play Important Role in Motivating Smokers to Quit

Smoking Cessation Program of the Future?

Quitting smoking has huge implications for health, but although two out of three smokers would like to give up, they often fail. Participants in the txt2stop group were more than twice as likely to have quit after six months than those in the comparison group (10.7% vs. 4.9% respectively).

Professor Max Parmar, director of the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit in the U.K., says in a news release, "This research has shown that texting could be a powerful tool to help people to walk away from cigarettes for good."

Glyn Mcintosh, director of development and communications at the U.K. charity QUIT, which helped develop the text messages and find volunteers for the study, says in a news release, "We are delighted with the results and hope that text motivation will now become a standard part of the quitting process."

Case Study

Fergus Joel, of Edinburgh, Scotland, says he successfully gave up his 20-a-day habit thanks to txt2stop and feels much healthier as a result. 

The supermarket worker, who has two young children, says he likened the messages to a 24/7 friend providing encouragement and useful advice, which spurred him on during moments of weakness.

Joel, 36, who started smoking in 2000, used to light up three or four cigarettes before his morning coffee until he gave up during the txt2stop program in August 2009.  He says in a news release, "The messages really helped me. I'd tried to give up before but it's tough to keep up the willpower.

"To get a text message at that time of day, even at weekends, it's like having a companion with you 24/7 encouraging you to stop. It does motivate you to stop. You're thinking, 'I shouldn't really smoke here, because this is somebody sending me messages here, on my own phone, in my own private space.' The wording of the messages was really good too, telling me things like 'the craving will pass,' 'hold on,' 'drink some water.'

"At the end of the day, I've got two children, and I don't want them to see their daddy as a smoker, this man who's stinking of stale smoke all the time. And the thing that motivated me most was the children but it was also for my health as well. 

"I feel much fitter now -- I can run about with the children, I can taste my food much better, I can smell the air, it's just brilliant.  It's been two years now and I'm very happy I've come this far."

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