Text messages can reach individuals wherever they are located, without them having to schedule time to seek support.Text support can also be interactive, providing individuals with extra support when they need it most.
A number of studies examining the effectiveness of text support programs have been published, and all of them have found that text support programs are effective at helping smokers in their quit attempts.
- 2011 study demonstrates text support doubles the chances of quitting.
A prospective, blinded and randomized trial published in 2011 with 5800 participants.
The researchers discovered that in the long-term, text support programs can double the quit success of participants.
The intervention group had a 10.7% biochemically verified 6 month continuous abstinence quit rate, whereas the control group’s quit rate was 4.9% (P < 0.0001).
Those in the intervention group that used other cessation products or services had an even higher quit rate of 14.6%.
The intervention was helpful for smokers of all levels of addiction. A cost-effectiveness analysis of the text to stop program determined that text support programs are likely to result in a net savings to the healthcare system.
Guerriero C, Cairns J, Roberts I, Rodgers A, Whittaker R, Free C. The cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation support delivered by mobile phone text messaging: Txt2stop. European Journal of Health Economics, 2012
- 2008 trial shows text, email and web support can increase quit success.
A trial in Norway published in 2008 followed 396 participants using various aspects of a fully-automated cessation support intervention that included text support support along with email and web support. The trial found 12 month point prevalence of cessation among the text support group to be 37.6% compared to 24.1% in the control group (P = 0.005). A full 92.9% of participants in the text support group found the automated support to be “helpful” or “very helpful”.
Brendryen H, Kraft P. Happy Ending: a randomized controlled trial of a digital multi-media smoking cessation intervention. Addiction, 2008;103:478–84
- 2007 trial finds tailored texts can increase adherence to nicotine gum program.
In a 2007 trial using a different approach to smoking cessation text support, participants making a quit attempt were sent text messages to help them adhere to a proper nicotine gum dosing program. The trial found that those who received tailored text instruction reported chewing more nicotine gum than those who received standard support texts.
Applegate BW, Raymond C, Collado-Rodriguez A, Riley WT, Schneider NG. Improving adherence to nicotine gum by sms text messaging: a pilot study (RPOS3-57). Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 13th Annual Meeting, 2007:14
- 2005 trial demonstrates that text support doubles the chances of quitting and increases quit confidence.
An earlier trial conducted in 2005 in New Zealand with 1705 participants and a similar design to the UK study demonstrated the effectiveness of text support.
The main outcome was the prevalence of current non-smoking (not smoking in the past week) six weeks after randomization.
The biochemically verified quit rate for the intervention group receiving text support was 13.9%, whereas it was only 6.2% in the control group (P < 0.0001). That represented approximately one extra quitter for every 13 participants using text support.
While the difference in the 26 week quit rate for the two groups was not statistically significant, the study identified a difference in quit confidence at 26 week follow-up, with 33% of quitters using text support feeling extremely confident they could stay quit compared to only 20% in the control group.
A separate analysis of the same data found that text support was just as effective in the indigenous Maori population as it was in other New Zealanders.
Rodgers A, Corbett T, Bramley D, Riddell T, Wills M, Lin R-B, et al. Do u smoke after txt? Results of a randomised trial of smoking cessation using mobile phone text messaging. Tobacco Control 2005;14:255–261. [: doi: 10.1136/tc.2005.011577]