Over the past few years, texting has become a key way that many stay in touch with each other. Whether it's deciding what restaurant to hit this weekend or dishing on what dresses you loved at the Emmy's, we all text so much. But what if your texts could actually help you to live longer and healthier? That's what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is banking on when it comes to getting smokers to quit. HHS recently launched two new text-messaging and mobile smoking-cessation programs.
The first is the SmokeFreeTXT program, from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. This mobile smoking-cessation service was specifically created for teens and young adults and is an extension of the smoking cessation website, www.smokefree.gov. The second smoking-cessation program is for adult smokers. Called QuitNowTXT, the interactive text-based intervention offers tips, motivation, encouragement and facts. While QuitNowTXT is only available in the U.S. now, the HHS is trying to make the texting smoking-cessation program available to other countries to reach more adult tobacco users.
Since January 2010, the HHS has invested $5 million to develop such technology-driven smoking-cessation programs. According to the HHS, texting is perfect because it's cost effective, easy to use, non-intimidating and gets a healthy message to millions who may be difficult to otherwise reach.