Text messages help smokers to quit

People eager to quit smoking may find they are able to do so with the help of text messaging. New research published in The Lancet has shown that support through this medium can double the chance of smokers kicking the habit for good.

According to the study, which was led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) - a facility with almost 4,000 students - more than ten per cent of 2,900 individuals stopped using cigarettes after a six-month period in which they received encouraging texts carrying phrases such as "you can do it".

This compared with just 4.9 per cent of smokers in the same period who had not been sent such messages.

Professor Max Parmer, Director of the Medical Research Council, said: "This research has shown that texting could be a powerful tool to help people to walk away from cigarettes for good."

Dr Caroline Free, an LSHTM Clinical Lecturer described the service as a very convenient way to help people quit.

Gay Sutherland, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "This is a very important and highly cost effective intervention. It's essential to have a wide range of services to help smokers stop and these positive results will increase the choice of interventions smokers can access.

"It does not, however, mean that more intensive NHS Clinical services are not needed as more nicotine dependent smokers are likely to require more support and appropriate stop smoking medications in order to overcome their dependence on cigarettes."