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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

Text Messaging Libraries for Cessation (Adults and Teens) Now Available

Wednesday, January 11, 2012  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

There is a small but solid body of literature that indicates that text messaging is an effective platform on which to deliver a cessation intervention.

Based on this, several quitline programs and other organizations have started offering text messaging to tobacco users who want to quit. Below are a few examples that are available for use by quitlines. As with any program you are adapting, please read through the messages carefully to ensure they refer only to the programs and resources your program wants it to refer to.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched QuitNowTXT (details available on The library of messages and other resources are available to any state Tobacco Control Program, quitline or community program for their use. The QuitNowTXT text messaging library was developed to provide health departments, academic institutions, and government agencies with an algorithm and database of messages designed to serve as smoking cessation intervention for individuals who are ready to quit smoking. The library includes day-specific messages including keyword responses. You can either "pick up" all of the messages or modify and integrate them into your existing program. The messages are available at (You can also get to the library by navigating from the very bottom of the page under "For Health Professionals.”)

HHS has also launched Teen SmokefreeTXT, using a similar message library to QuitNowTXT, but messages are customized for teens and young adults. According to its most recent report on "Teens and Mobile Phones,” 75 percent of teens aged 12–17 own a cell phone, up from 45 percent in 2004 (Lenhart, Ling, Campbell, & Purcell, 2010, available online at: One in three teens sends 3,000 texts a month, and 87 percent of teens text message at least occasionally (Lenhart, Ling, Campbell, & Purcell, 2010).

New Hampshire has two text systems set up:

1- A person texts 22122 and they receive a text message back that tells them a cessation counselor will be contacting them in the next few days (depending on what day they text to account for holidays, weekends, etc.).

2- Text for Tips will set the person up to receive cessation tips for 6 weeks and then at the end a text reminding them that they need to re-sign up for text tips or to call the quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW connects people with NH Tobacco Helpline)

These two initiatives are explained on the New Hampshire website Their text service is offered online, and is customized by type of tobacco used and readiness to quit. Some demographic information is collected through online registration. This service is also offered by the counselors at the NH Tobacco Helpine to all clients, and they will sign them up on line for them to receive the text tips. The texting service is unique in its 9 platforms which relate to tobacco product and stage of change and is based on a Canadian model. Also one of the biggest benefits is that they have the ability to evaluate the efficacy and demographics of their texting cohort on a real-time basis.

Utah has a list of messages they are happy to share. Contact Sandra K. Schulthies, They used what they found from an Australian campaign and changed them to match their population.

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