Mobile phones have encountered several allegations in the past. For a change, this one seeks to acknowledge them in their bid to achieve a target for which even major therapies don’t seem to work. According to a study conducted by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, mobile phones are apparently playing the role of motivators and supporters by delivering text messages. The result showed that quitting rates of smokers apparently doubled in six months after encouraging messages were sent.
This study is known as the txt2stop trial which came up with a new way of targeting the stubborn habit of smoking. The analysis observed the long term influences of specifically structured text messages by examining the cotinine levels in the saliva of participants after they reported of having quit smoking. Around 5,800 smokers were accommodated to the txt2stop program or a control group randomly. The txt2stop set were delivered five text messages a day for the initial five weeks followed by three per week. It also included a personalized mechanism that enabled access to these messages in times of need by texting the words crave or Lapse.
The messages comprised of encouraging text to stop participants from zoning out from their objective to quit smoking. The messages were developed by specific smoking cessation professionals. One example of the message is as follows-“This is it! – QUIT DAY, throw away all your fags. TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you can do it!” Another one says-“Cravings last less than 5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over.”
Participants in the control group were delivered messages biweekly. The text thanked them for being a part of the test. The outcome showed that prolonged suppression that was affirmed by chemical trials in six months prominently rose in the txt2stop group. The study accounted for 10.7% success for txt2stop compared to 4.9% success in the control group.
The study seemed to be successful with a wide range of audience of all ages and social groups. As per researchers, audiences consider text2stop messages to be their friend or an angel as it apparently helped them control their urge to smoke. Even if 2 out of 3 smokers wish to give up the habit, they often fail in the process. Text messages seem to be a unique way of combating this ever-growing habit.
The study is published in The Lancet.