HEALTHY LIVING

Text Messages Help Smokers Quit

07/05/2011 12:34 pm ET | Updated Sep 04, 2011

First, it was the gory cigarette warning labels. Now, could stop-smoking text messages be next?

A new study in the journal The Lancet shows that smokers who receive encouraging text messages through a program called "txt2stop" are twice as likely to quit the habit after six months, compared to smokers who didn't get any encouraging messages.

Out of 5,800 smokers in the study, more than 10 percent who received the encouraging messages quit, compared to just 4.9 percent of smokers who didn't receive the text messages.

The participants' saliva was tested to make sure they had actually given up smoking, BBC News reported.

In the study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical, one group was able to text words like "lapse" and "crave" to a phone number, and received an encouraging text message in return, CNET reported. The other group of people, however, only got one text message every two weeks, and the message only thanked them for being part of the study.

"People described txt2stop as being like having a friend encouraging them or an angel on their shoulder," study researcher Dr. Caroline Free told BBC News. "It helped people resist the temptation to smoke."

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