Mobile phones help smokers quit? Mobile phone usage has some interesting healthy side effects if this one study is to be believed. An almost addicting substitute in fact. Over two-thirds of travelers would rather lose wedding rings than phones. This may just prove the allure of our smartphone is enough to overcome the bad habit of smoking cigarettes.
“We can’t say all text messaging interventions are going to work,” said lead author Robyn Whittaker, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, whose work was published in The Cochrane Library. “But it certainly shows there’s reason to believe that mobile phone-based interventions are a good option to think about adding to your portfolio of smoking cessation services.”
According to Straits Times, medical researchers found that “text and video messages designed to help people quit smoking that come in on their cell phones nearly doubled the success rate for attempted quitters compared to people who didn’t have such assistance.” They discovered that in six months nine percent of people attempting to quit smoking would actually succeed if prompted regularly by encouraging cell phone messages.
This is in comparison to the normal five percent smoking quit rate when going it solo. There was some variation in the test groups, but overall they found that chances of success are doubled for those attempting to quit for six months.
“Mobile phone programmes appear to be a useful option to offer those who want to stop smoking,” said Whittaker on ScienceDaily. “The largest trial that we included in our review, which involved 5,800 people in the UK, can be considered definitive. At the very least it shows the efficacy of a mobile phone intervention in a developed country with good tobacco control policy. However, we cannot say that all text messaging interventions will be effective in all contexts.”
No studies have been conducted on the cost-effectiveness of quitting smoking via mobile phone text messages, but Whittaker believes it is likely to be cheaper. “If, as it appears from our review, we can help as many people quit smoking at lower costs than running telephone support lines, then mobile phone-based services must be cost-effective,” he said.
Mobile phones may help smokers quit cigarettes, but now all they need is a cure for sore thumbs, wrists, and that aching crick in the neck for our new addiction.