While text messaging has been around for more than 20 years, it has been primarily used as a helpful way of connecting with friends or family when calling is not convenient. As texting has grown in popularity, behavioral health researchers have begun studying new ways texting can be used to help people make changes in their lives.
Published June 6th (2014) in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a recent study divided a group of 503 smokers motivated to quit: one group receiving text message support and another self-help materials. After setting a quit date, the text message group received periodic messages of encouragement and tips for dealing with cravings. The texting group could also initiate messages for extra support when struggling with cravings, having a tough day, or a slip. Data was collected after six months, and the researchers found that more than twice as many smokers who used the text program were smoke-free compared to the group that tried to quit on their own with self-help literature.
While more research will need to be done, text messaging holds promise as a helpful tool smokers can use as they prepare themselves for a smoke-free future. There are a number of text message programs available including BecomeAnEx’s own text program!