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Can Text Messaging Help You Quit Smoking?

By Elyse Desmarais on April 19, 2016

TXT 2 Quit

The CDC estimates nearly 40 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for 1 of every 5 deaths per year. But this doesn’t mean U.S. smokers aren’t trying to kick the habit. The CDC also reports 7 out of every 10 U.S. adult smokers said they wanted to quit and only 4 out of 10 adult smokers stopped smoking for more than one day when trying to quit.

So how can these numbers be improved? What treatment methods are and aren’t working to help Americans kick this deadly habit?

Quitting smoking often requires several attempts and many go back to smoking due to aggressive withdrawal symptoms, such as stress and weight gain. Research even suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.

The Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization has a hunch that text messaging might be the answer to some smokers’ addiction problem. This past March, the organization offered a free service called “Care Messaging” on national “Kick Butts Day” that sent motivational text messages to smokers to help them quit. Nancy Knopf, Community Health Partnership Manager, says,

“The research has shown that people who use a text-messaging service, they actually respond to and are more honest about what’s going on as far as their commitment level, and their ability to actually stop and/or reduce tobacco use…”

The CDC also promoted this method, finding programs that deliver treatments using mobile phones are effective for those who want to quit.

To opt in to the program, users sent Care Messaging information about themselves in order to receive personalized messages according to their needs. The program ran for 12 weeks with participants receiving 2-3 messages per week.

Text message interventions are a core competency of Instant Census. Researchers have used our automated text messaging software to send intervention style communications for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re looking to help people manage side-effects of certain illnesses, improve student performance in the classroom, or curb certain behaviors, we have a solution.

Find out how Instant Census can help with your next intervention study! Get in touch today!

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