Sending smokers simple text mesages such as “You can do it!” or “Be strong” can help them kick the habit, suggests new research.
The study found that people who received these messaging interventions were more likely to abstain themselves from smoking relative to controls.
The researcehrs used meta-analysis-a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies.
The team included 20 manuscripts with 22 text messaging interventions for smoking cessation from 10 countries.
The text messaging (short message service, SMS) interventions provide health education, reminders and support using short written messages. SMS interventions can be adapted to fit an individual’s health needs in his or her natural environment. The messages of support can be as simple as “You can do it!” or “Be strong.”
“The evidence provides unequivocal support for the efficacy of text messaging interventions to reduce smoking behavior, but more research is needed to understand for whom they work, under what conditions, and why,” said lead researchers Lori Scott-Sheldon from Brown University in the US.
The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
“Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable global health problems, and text messaging has the promise to reach a wider audience with minimal costs and fewer resources,” Scott-Sheldon noted.
Text messaging interventions to help smokers quit should be a public health priority, the researchers suggested.