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National Cancer Institute introduces free text message cessation service for teens

While teen smoking rates have declined overall since 1999, the drop in the number of high school smokers has slowed in recent years. Now the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hopes that by connecting with teen smokers on their mobile phones the federal agency can more effectively engage young people and help them kick their nicotine habit.

The NCI recently launched SmokefreeTXT, a free text message cessation service that provides 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips to teens trying to quit smoking. According to an NCI release:

Once they sign up, teens receive text messages timed according to their selected quit date. Following their quit date, they will continue receiving texts for up to six weeks -- a critical piece of the SmokefreeTXT service, as research shows that cessation support continues to be important beyond the first few weeks of quitting. Teens can sign up online at or text QUIT to iQUIT (47848).

And, as the release notes, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to develop additional mobile health programs as part of it's Smokefree Teen initiative:

Along with SmokefreeTXT, Smokefree Teen offers several social media pages to connect teens with cessation tools. In January 2012, Smokefree Teen will launch a free smartphone application, QuitSTART -- an interactive quit guide for teens that delivers cessation and mood management tips, tracks cravings, and monitors quit attempts.

Previous research has shown test message services may be an effective and economical option to help individuals quit smoking and control their cravings.

Previously: Can daily texts help smokers kick their nicotine addiction?
Photo by FaceMePLS

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