Monday, June 03, 2013

Can Mobile Phone Help Smoker Quit?

Smoking is bad for the health as it harms almost all organs of the body. It will lead to many diseases including lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease and stroke. The secondhand smoke from smokers’ cigarettes can also cause many of these diseases to people around them.

Governments around the world have been actively finding means and ways to suppress smoking rate by educating smokers as well as implementing smoking bans (or some called smoke-free laws).

According to a New Zealand’s study, text and video messages that appeared on mobile phones and designed to help people quit smoking almost doubled the success rate for attempted quitters, comparing with people who did not have such assistance.

The findings, which were published on November 14, 2012 in ‘The Cochrane Library’, reported that 9 percent of intended quitters stopped smoking for at least 6 months when reminded and encouraged through mobile phone messages, compared to 5 percent who did not have such service.

Mobile phone programs involved a text message or video conveying motivation and advice sent to smokers every day for several weeks to prepare them for the designated quit day. After the quit day, multiple messages were often sent to intended quitter each day for weeks. The messages offered encouragement, tips on getting through cravings and additional resources to quit again after a relapse.

Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and other institutions reviewed 5 studies and compared mobile phone messaging to no extra help.

A total of 9,100 smokers were tracked for 6 months. Among 4,730 participants assigned to a text or video messaging program, 444 managed to kick the habit. On the other hand, 240 out of the 4,370 participants who did not receive any additional services stopped smoking for 6 months.

Quit smoking requires a great deal of effort and most people require few attempt to quit. Many of the intended quitters still continue smoking even if they have tried a texting program. Nevertheless, the mobile texting programs are automated and easy to scale up for widespread use. It is important to offer smokers as many tools as possible to help them quit smoking.

No comments:

Post a Comment