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The National Cancer Institute hopes to evaluate the efficacy of its mobile health smoking cessation initiative, SmokefreeTXT, according to a notice in Monday's Federal Register.
According to NCI officials, some 20 percent of American teens are smokers, and the majority of them will continue these habits into adulthood. Aimed at curbing these numbers and getting 18-29 year-olds to quit smoking, the NCI launched SmokefreeTXT December 2011. If NCI's request is approved by the Office of Management and Budget, NCI will conduct a three-year study on the value of the program.
Once an individual enrolls in the program, motivational and encouraging text message tips are sent for eight weeks, with follow-ups sent up to six months after the program ends. Sample messages include, "Wow, 2 weeks smoke free! Think about how much time, energy, health, & money you have saved. You deserve to treat yourself – make today awesome."
"With 75 percent of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 owning a cell phone, there is immense potential for mobile technologies to affect health awareness and behavior change among teens," said Erik Augustson, a behavioral scientist in NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch, when the program was launched.
From the study, officials hope to gather quantifiable data as to how effective SmokefreeTXT has been in getting teens and young adults to quit smoking.