Feasibility and Smokers’ Evaluation of Self-Generated Text Messages to Promote Quitting

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Abstract

Introduction:

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable mortality. Mobile technologies, including text messaging, provide opportunities to promote quitting. Many text messaging-based cessation interventions contain content created by experts. However, smokers may be best persuaded by receipt of text messages they created based on their reasons for quitting, assisted or not by a motivational facilitator. This study assessed the feasibility and participants’ evaluation of two ways to self-generate smoking cessation messages delivered via cell-phone.

Methods:

We enrolled smokers (N = 24) and randomized them to: (1) behavioral counseling assistance plus self-generated messages, or (2) self-generated messages only. Both groups wrote: (1) their reasons for wanting to quit and then (2) text messages related to their reason(s) for quitting, Messages were delivered as text messages as well as with a link to verbatim self-recorded audio message for 10 days. At follow-up, participants evaluated the intervention.

Results:

Participants composed and recorded messages and evaluated them and the intervention favorably. The counseling+message group wrote an average of 7.66 (SD = 4.86) text messages while the message-only wrote an average of 6.66 (SD = 2.93) messages. Most participants felt that the messages were of appropriate length, including the frequency and timing of message delivery.

Conclusion:

It is feasible for smokers to self-generate motivational text and audio messages concerning reasons for quitting, even among smokers without an immediate desire to quit. Participants evaluated the messages and intervention favorably. Future research should test self-generated messages in larger trials of self- versus expert-generated message.

Implications:

This study assessed the feasibility and participants’ evaluation of two ways to self-generate smoking cessation messages delivered via cell-phone. It is feasible for smokers to self-generate motivational text and audio messages concerning reasons for quitting, even among smokers without an immediate desire to quit. Participants evaluated the messages and intervention favorable. Future research should test self-generated messages in larger trials of self- versus expert-generated messages.

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