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Text Messages Could Help Smokers Kick The Habit

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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WASHINGTON, DC (CBS) – Smokers looking to quit could benefit from text messages, a new study claims.

Researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University say they recruited 503 smokers online then randomly assigned them to receive either texts from Text2Quit, a text-messaging program aimed at helping smokers kick the habit, or self-help information on quitting smoking.

After six months, the researchers contacted the smokers to find out whether or not they’d quit. According to the study, 11-percent of those who got the anti-smoking text reminders said they’d successfully stopped lighting up, while just 5-percent of the control group did.

And since scientists say self-reports from smokers can be misleading, they also tested the subjects’ saliva and found that the quit rate for those with “biochemically confirmed abstinence” who’d received texts was still two times higher than those who’d only received self-help info.

While researchers say more studies need to be done, they also say that text messaging programs can keep smokers accountable.

“Text messages seem to give smokers the constant reminders they need to stay focused on quitting,” says Lorien C. Abroms, an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH and the lead author of the study. “However, additional studies must be done to confirm this result and to look at how these programs work when coupled with other established anti-smoking therapies.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the June 6th issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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