Recent research testing a revolutionary new approach to kicking the habit is hoping to provide smokers with a different kind of support. The txt2stop study, assisted by the Primary Care Research Network, showed that sending motivational text messages to smokers could double quit rates.
The study found that the success rate in the txt2stop group was over double that of the group receiving the standard smoking cessation package – 10.7 per cent compared to 4.9 per cent. As a result, the study hit the headlines earlier this year when the findings were published by The Lancet medical journal. The story was covered by BBC News and Radio four’s Today programme, and was widely reported across the USA, Canada and India.
Fergus Joel used to smoke between 15 and 30 cigarettes a day until he took part in txt2stop:
“I’d tried to stop before and failed. What made the difference this time was that I received texts when I needed them most; first thing in the morning, evenings and weekends. It was like having an imaginary friend encouraging me and giving me tips to get over the cravings... Every smoker is different and needs different support. Txt2stop is clever; it hits you with a text just at the right time, which can make all the difference.”
Txt2stop could soon be available on the NHS. Dr Caroline Free led the research:
“It’s cost effective, it’s easy to replicate, and it’s proven to work well across all age and social groups. We’re talking to the Department of Health about rolling the intervention out nationally, and NICE have also been in touch about writing guidance around how txt2stop should be delivered in the NHS. We hope it will soon be an option for all smokers who want to quit.”