Texting, mobile interference could help snuff out smoking addiction

Cochrane Collaboration reviewers have found that when it comes to smoking, it’s no longer just about kicking the habit — it’s about texting it.

According to the latest review’s findings — derived from the compiled expertise of five separate studies — mobile intervention has a substantive affect on a smoker’s drive to snuff out the nicotine need and move on to healthier outlets.

“Innovative and effective smoking cessation interventions are required to appeal to those who are not accessing traditional cessation services,” wrote the study’s authors. “Mobile phones are widely used and are now well-integrated into the daily lives of many, particularly young adults. Mobile phones are a potential medium for the delivery of health programs such as smoking cessation.”

Methods of intervention included text messages inherently motivational, supportive and forthcoming regarding successful pointers on how to quit smoking.

“Three studies involve a purely text messaging intervention that has been adapted over the course of these three studies for different populations and contexts,” the authors noted. “One study is a multi-arm study of a text messaging intervention and an Internet QuitCoach separately and in combination. The final study involves a video messaging intervention delivered via the mobile phone.”

Furthermore, researchers “included randomized or quasi-randomized trials. Participants were smokers of any age who wanted to quit. Studies were those examining any type of mobile phone-based intervention. This included any intervention aimed at mobile phone users, based around delivery via mobile phone, and using any functions or applications that can be used or sent via a mobile phone.”

The comprised data from all five reports indicated that such mobile interference increased long-term quitting ratios when contrasted with control programs, with abstinence being understood as not smoking at six month since the day the patient quit; up to three lapses or five cigarettes were also permitted.

"The current evidence shows a benefit of mobile phone-based smoking cessation interventions on long-term outcomes, though results were heterogeneous with findings from three of five included studies crossing the line of no effect," the review concluded. "The studies included were predominantly of text messaging interventions. More research is required into other forms of mobile phone-based interventions for smoking cessation, other contexts such as low income countries and cost-effectiveness."

Access to the study can be found here.