Technology.am (Oct. 8, 2009) — Researchers led by Robyn Whittaker, at the University of Auckland, looked at four studies: two of text-message only programs and two that used the Internet along with mobile phones to keep up a stream of stop-smoking support.
Studies included about 2,600 smokers of all ages. After pooling study data, reviewers found that participants in text-message programs were about twice as likely not to smoke after six weeks as smokers in control groups.
People in mixed-media programs — cell phone plus Web — were significantly more likely to hang in there for at least six months after their chosen quit date.
“Say people are out with friends and feeling really strong cravings. They can text the word ‘crave’ directly into the program and they can get a message with suggestions for techniques to get through the cravings or other things to do to distract them such as listen to music or take a walk around the block,” Whittaker said.
Two studies conducted in Norway combined e-mail contacts, a Web page and text messages. In the other studies, which took place in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, participants received a barrage of up to six messages daily for a month after their quit date and less frequent messages for up to six months.
”The text messages obviously have to be very brief, to the point; they use a lot of abbreviation but not a lot of texting lingo,” Whittaker said. “Motivational messages remind people why they want to quit. Positive reinforcement message tell them they’re doing really well, that they got themselves through the day or week without a cigarette, and to keep up the good work.”
The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.