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Stop Smoking Texts

July 26, 2011

Encouraging text messages help smokers kick the habit.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Quitting on the run…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

It’s hard to stop smoking and even harder to remain a quitter. But a new study suggests that text messages can help. Researchers sent encouraging texts to nearly 3,000 wannabe quitters’cell phones before their proposed quit dates and for the next six months. Dr. Caroline Free of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says they were twice as likely quit smoking long-term as the control group.

DR. CAROLINE FREE (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine):

11% of the group that got the messages quit, and about 5% of the group that didn’t get the messages quit.

HIRSHON:

Free says the technique could provide an easy, low-cost intervention for smoking as well as other addictions.

FREE:

Everybody’s got a mobile phone pretty much and people carry their phones with them wherever they are, so it means you can provide support wherever people are any time of day or night.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.