Forget patches, gum, and doctors. Kicking the addition to smoking may be as easy as picking up your mobile phone.
On Wednesday, Voxiva – the self proclaimed “global pioneer” in delivering interactive mobile health services – announced the launch of Text2Quit, a highly unorthodox approach to helping smokers quit the potentially fatal “bad habit.”
Developed with The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Text2Quit uses SMS/text, email and web support to help smokers quit “at a higher rate than other methods alone.”
According to Dr. Lorien Abroms, lead designer and author of the Text2Quit program and an assistant professor at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, “Studies have shown that text-based smoking cessation programs have resulted in an approximate doubling of abstinence rates. Our initial tests have shown promising results, and we are now starting a larger study to examine further benefits of this program.
That’s a mighty bold claim for a mighty big market, as 46 million people in the US today smoke. So how does it work?
Voxiva says Text2Quit delivers customized educational content based on the user’s own quit date. It enables users to complete surveys to receive advice, play games to fight off cravings, select the best possible prescription or over-the-counter therapies as cessation aids, and collects data to help the user monitor their achievement towards their own goals.
“Text2Quit offers smoking cessation support in the same way we have provided maternal and infant health information so successfully through Text4baby,” says Justin Sims, Voxiva’s CEO. “We are using our highly scalable mobile health platform to put this service into the hands of hundreds of thousands of smokers that otherwise would not have access to smoking cessation support.”