An Experimental Comparison of Mobile Texting Programs to Help Young Adults Quit Smoking
Text messaging interventions may offer promise for health systems, but we need more evidence. We investigated efficacy of three text messaging programs in helping smokers quit. Arm 1 had cessation assessment and quit date reminder messages. Arm 2 had Arm 1 messages plus quit date preparation messages. Arm 3 had Arm 1 and Arm 2 messages plus 6 weeks of post-quit date messaging. Smokers aged 18–29 interested in quitting were randomly assigned to a study arm. We surveyed participants at baseline, and at 3, 8, 20, and 32 weeks (n = 4,027). At 8 weeks, scores on psychological measures were higher in Arm 3 than in Arm 2 or Arm 1. Seven-day smoking abstinence was higher in Arms 3 and 2 than in Arm 1 after controlling for background and psychological measures. Arm 3 affected quitting the most, suggesting motivational text messages before, on, and after an individual’s quit date may increase quitting.