Texting can help people quit smoking, says study

What can I do about the little lines I'm seeing around my lips? They're caused from pursing (so don't, unless you're kissing!). Don't smoke. Limit straw sipping. Retinol at night, sunscreen in the a.m. - Dr. Hirsch istockphoto

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(CBS) - Even though texting has its disadvantages (from having caused car accidents to aiding in ugly bullying of all kinds), there might be a new benefit to the cell phone function.

A study by The Lancet, a medical journal, found that smokers that received texts with motivational messages are more likely to stop smoking.

Out of 5,800 participants, 2,915 smokers received encouraging texts from "txt2stop," a mobile-based smoking intervention program. (The other 2,885 were in the control group that didn't receive txt2stop messages.) For example, the smokers in the first group would receive messages that read, "TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you do it."

So okay, the messages aren't exactly grammatically sound, but the participants responded well to them. The Lancet reported for the group that received motivational messages, the success rate was 10.7 percent, while the second group which did not receive motivational messages had the success rate of 4.9 percent.

Smokers in that first group also texted the words "crave" and "lapse" to indicate when they're having a tough time with smoking cessation. Txt2stop would then reply encouraging words and suggestions like, "Cravings last less than 5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over."

The conclusion? The Lancet reported, "The txt2stop smoking cessation programme significantly improved smoking cessation rates at 6 months and should be considered for inclusion in smoking cessation services."

To use txt2stop, text "SMOKE" to 65151 or visit the txt2stop.org to register.

  • Ysolt Usigan

    Ysolt Usigan is the editor of lifestyle and technology for women at CBSNews.com

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