A research study, txt2stop, has shown the positive effect of encouraging text messages in helping smokers quit. Smokers who received motivational messages were twice as likely to quit than those who received neutral messages.

The study was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and randomly selected 5,800 smokers to participate in the trial. The motivational messages were sent to one group, while the control group received neutral messages.

Input from smokers and smoking-cessation professionals was used to develop the motivational text messages. They were meant to encourage the participants to not give up and praising them for their efforts so far. The participants could also text in for help in times of need. One of the motivational text messages was “Cravings last less than 5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over”.

Professor Max Parmar, the Director of the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit, added: “this research has shown that texting could be a powerful tool to help people to walk away from cigarettes for good. The MRC has been tackling the problem of smoking for over half a century, and we’re committed to funding research that has the potential to change so many people’s lives.”