Does Text Messaging Really Help Stop Smoking?

from the or-is-it-just-the- dept

There’s been some buzz recently about a new study suggesting that text messaging helps young smokers quit. The study found that nearly twice as many smokers ended up quitting when they were sent regular text message reminders or encouragement, compared to a control group. Of course, people shouldn’t get so excited that text messaging is really a way to stop smoking. It was still only 28% of those in the program who actually quit — and the study had problems following up with many users six months later to see if they had continued to avoid smoking. Also, while the focus here is on text messaging, I’m reminded of someone I knew who quit smoking by going to a hypnotist. Rather than being “hypnotized,” he was told to tie a string around his finger, and every time he wanted to smoke, to look at that finger as a reminder that he was quitting. That process worked as well — and really suggests that just doing something different to remind you of the habit you’re trying to break will help. Text messaging just happens to be one method for doing so — but probably has no real special powers of any other “different” thing designed to remind you to quit. That doesn’t mean aspiring smoking quitters shouldn’t try something similar, as the reminder factor does seem to help some people — but, it’s hard to impart magical quitting capabilities to text messages in particular.

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Comments on “Does Text Messaging Really Help Stop Smoking?”

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David C says:

Behavior modification

It sounds pretty similar to the sorts of things they encouraged my Mom to do in the stop-smoking class she took (and which worked incredibly well.)

Basically, all it involved was keeping a diary of when you smoked, and what the circumstances were (mood, time of day, etc.) And then gradually try to do something else in response to those circumstances. (For a while, my mom would often suck on a hard candy instead, for instance.) Sounds to me like text messaging is just another “something else” option.

Shaggy (user link) says:

Here's a site that's doing exactly that!

I quit smoking about 4 years ago and the hardest part was just getting on with your life in the early days deperately trying to avoid thinking about smoking. I think text messaging smokers with ideas, info and support etc. is a great way to keep their minds busy while their body sorts itself out…

Check it out

George says:

Quit smoking

Hi, my name is George. I was a smoker for 23 years. I can’t explain you how difficult is to stop it. I’ve tried a lot of alternatives to quit smoking, but the unique thing helped me was NicoNot:
Really, now I’m feeling younger, healthier and my wife say she feels changes too. I’m a different man now and if I could help other people that have this problem, I’ll give you a counsel: QUIT SMOKING!

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