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Texting program to help teens quit smoking
January 1st, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Texting program to help teens quit smoking

Teens love their cell phones. In an effort to help young smokers kick the habit, the National Cancer Institute is creating a new program called Smokefree T-X-T. It's a free text message service that provides 24 hour encouragement, advice, and tips to teens trying to quit smoking.

And it's easy. Teens sign up and select a reasonable date to quit. After that, text messages timed to their selected quit date are sent on a regular basis. Following their quit date, they will continue to receive texts for up to six weeks. Smoking experts say six weeks is a critical time, because that's when most people need the support to stay off the tobacco for good. The government agency also provides a website where teens can talk to one another about their efforts to quit.

According to the NCI, 20 percent of American teens are smokers and most will continue to smoke as they age. Even though many teens want to quit, many don't know how. So the NCI is hoping this modern day advice line will help some kids through the difficult process of giving up smoking.

SmokefreeTXT is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' efforts to develop mobile health programs to Americans. The federal agency has been designing mobile programs with a team of experts over the past few years.

At the beginning of 2012, the Smokefree Teen program will launch a free smartphone app called QuitSTART, which is an interactive quit guide for teens that delivers cessation and mood management tips, tracks cravings, and monitors quit attempts, much like the text program.

"With 75 percent of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 owning a cell phone, there is immense potential for mobile technologies to affect health awareness and behavior change among teens," said Erik Augustson, a behavioral scientist in NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch.


soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. sa

    a

    January 1, 2012 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. hamsta

    i can tell u a thousand quitting methods that dont work-make that a thousand and one.the only method that has worked for me-the e-cigarette is in proscess of being banned by the fda.they claim pure nicotine with water vapor has trace chemicals.i wonder if these bozos realize neither water nor pure nicotine is carcigenic.i guess real cigarettes dont have a couple of thousand chemicals in them.exactly how safe is that chemical the obama administration added to make them fire safe?what does that chemical do to the consumer?

    January 1, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Surprised the FDA wants to ban electronic cigs? Shouldn't be. They will ban anything that isn't produced and marketed by the major pharmaceutical companies. The "war" on smoking is supported by the big money corporations that will only get richer from convincing consumers it is better to swallow a pill or apply a patch.

      January 3, 2012 at 07:49 | Report abuse |
  3. Jennifer

    I think this is a great way to keep kids accountable but in a way that teens will actually find useful. It's true that many teens want to quit but dont know how- I was in the same situation when i was a teen and was only able to stop because of good friends and relatives which might not be the same for most kids. I'm glad people are constantly coming up with new ways to help teens out. It's a rough time of life and they need all the help they can get! Brilliant idea, I hope it will be beneficial to many kids who want to stop smoking.

    January 2, 2012 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kevin Daniel Gibbons

    Having a text helpline is better than not having one. Addictions suck and people typically don't know they're hooked on somethng until it's too late. It's good there are people who care enough to set up help centers like these so the possibility for early intervention or even prevention is increased.

    January 2, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
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    January 2, 2012 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. sam

    ANd now they are texting and drinking and driving and taking pills

    January 3, 2012 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. sam

    Makes sense

    January 3, 2012 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kate

    This is so going to work. *sarcasm off*

    January 3, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Shaniqua

    Yo! Smoking kills, stop.

    January 3, 2012 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. John

    I don't know about annoying text messages to quit smoking but has anyone ever tried smokeless cigarettes?

    January 4, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. sa

    Easy and simple tips to quit smoking website: me.cxx.ca

    January 15, 2012 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. sa

    Quick way to quit smoking website: me.cxx.ca

    January 22, 2012 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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    February 9, 2012 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. allofthepleasure

    I've been trying to quit smoking cigarettes forever, and everything I've tried just didn't cut it - chewing gum, a patch - nothing quite feels like the sensation of smoking. And then I heard of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, or e-cigs. You smoke them just like a real cigarette, only they produce vapor. And... you still get your nicotine fix. I was skeptical, so I did some research and found what I consider to be the best ecig on the market - V2 Cigs (http://www.v2cigs.com). They offer 6 flavors: Cowboy, Congress, Menthol, Coffee, Cherry, and Vanilla - in various strengths: Full (18mg), Medium (12mg), Light (6mg), and Zero (0mg). They also have 2 new flavors coming out that I can't wait to try: Chocolate and Peppermint!
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    April 6, 2012 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Nate Dilworth

    Effective texting plan to help teens quit smoking and helpful for those who are looking for reliable source for their teen kids and relatives to quit smoking. Bookmarked the link and will share with my friends and family members.
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    June 18, 2012 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. qst365

    Brilliant idea! Someone understands their target audience! Kids love texting and giving them such an option is really going to help to make a difference!

    October 20, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. quit smoking

    Teens who smoke are likely to turn into adults who smoke. If you find your teen smoking, take it seriously. Stopping teen smoking in its tracks is the best way to promote a lifetime of good health.

    October 30, 2012 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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    March 13, 2013 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Dean Sanders

    Smoking is one of those love hate relationships. If you've traveled over to more of the hate than the love, you may finally be ready.

    When quitting smoking, you must learn to manage your stress. Once smoking is no longer an option, turn to healthier outlets such as massage therapy, long walks in your favorite park, listening to relaxing music, or meditation. Find something you can do that provides near-instant gratification so that you'll be less tempted to turn to smoking when things get tough.

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    May 24, 2013 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.