WASHINGTON — A study by Chinese researchers showed that texting on mobile phones could help smokers quit smoking.
The study published on Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine showed among smokers who received a 12-week-long mobile phone-based intervention quitted smoking, 6.5 percent stopped smoking by the end of the study.
The researchers from the Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in China said the intervention could have greater reach and higher feasibility than in-person treatments.
It has great potential to improve population health and should be considered for large-scale use in China, according to the study.
They conducted a randomized controlled trial across China from August 2016 to May 2017, recruiting a total of 1,369 adult smokers. Participants were randomly assigned to a 12-week intervention consisting of either high-frequency or low-frequency messaging, or to a control group that received text messages unrelated to quitting.
The text messages were aimed at improving self-efficacy and behavioral capability for quitting, according to the study.
Twelve weeks later, 6.5 percent of them turned continuous smoking abstinence in the high-frequency group while 6 percent quitted smoking in the low-frequency group. 1.9 percent of them stopped smoking in control group.
China has the highest global prevalence of cigarette smokers, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total cigarette consumption in the world.