A British [removed]study[/removed] finds that a smoking cessation program using motivational and supportive text messages sent to people giving up smoking doubled quit rates at 6 months. The findings appear in The Lancet.

Almost 6,000 people took part in the txt2stop trial, which examined the long-term effects of specially designed text messages by testing the levels of cotinine (a chemical found in tobacco) found in participants’ saliva after they reported they had stopped smoking for 6 months.

A total of 5,800 smokers were randomly allocated to the txt2stop program or a control group. The txt2stop group received five text messages a day for the first 5 weeks and then three per week for the next 26 weeks with a personalized system that also allowed people to receive instant messages at times of need by texting the word “crave” or “lapse.”

The messages, which were developed with input from smokers and smoking cessation professionals, encouraged participants to persevere and focused on their success so far.

Control group participants received fortnightly text messages thanking them for taking part in the trial. The results showed that continuous abstinence—verified by chemical tests—at 6 months was significantly increased in the txt2stop group—10.7% success txt2stop versus 4.9% success control.

The study found that txt2stop worked well for all ages and across all social groups.

Source: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine