Text n Quit

US mobile messaging firm Mobile Commons has announced a partnership with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) to use text messaging to help teens and young adults quit smoking. The SmokefreeTXT program provides targeted advice and encouragement, timed to their selected quit date, via text message, in both English and Spanish.

CDC research shows that nearly 20 per cent of teens currently smoke, and that 80 per cent of adult smokers started smoking before they turned 18. By connecting with young smokers on their mobile phones, NCI is seeking to more effectively encourage teens and young adults to quit, with proven cessation tools and strategies.

The rollout of the campaign also marks the launch of Mobile Commons’ new health care platform, Mobile Commons for Health, which will allow departments of health, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies to integrate the power and reach of mobile messaging to improve health care outcomes.

Mobile Commons for Health is a complete mobile messaging platform for the healthcare industry. Departments of health, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies can encourage (and track) behaviour change and medication adherence, provide private counselling through live text chat, and share vital health knowledge, all on the mobile phone.

“We are proud to partner with the National Cancer Institute on such an important and effective use of mobile messaging,” says Mobile Commons CEO and co-founder, Jed Alpert. “We know how great the possibilities are for effecting real change through mobile messaging, from helping heavy smokers quit smoking, to motivating HIV+ patients to adhere to complicated medication regimens. Our new health edition will make it even easier for health care organizations of all types to drive healthy outcomes by reaching people on the device they use most – their mobile phone.”

Participants in NCI’s SmokefreeTXT campaign will receive text messages timed to their selected quit date, and will continue receiving texts for up to six weeks following their target quit date – a critical time period in the smoking cessation process. Teens and young adults can enter the program by texting QUIT to 47848 or through the SmokefreeTXT website.

Teens exchange an average of nearly 3,500 messages per month, according to Nielsen’s State of the Media: The Mobile Media Report from 2011, illustrating that text messaging remains the centrepiece of teens’ mobile behaviour.