Cell phones for (beneficial) social control?

Smoking cessation programmes that use text messaging can double the
quit rate in young smokers, according to a clinical trial in New

trial led by Anthony Rodgers, director of the Clinical Trials Research
Unit at the University of Auckland, NZ, is the first to test the use of
mobile phones as an aid to giving up smoking.

the study, over 850 young smokers who wanted to quit received text
messages, such as: “Write down 4 people who will get a kick outta u
kicking butt. Your mum, dad, m8s?”

smokers, whose average age was 25 years old, received five messages a
day for a week before their designated “quit day”, and for the
following four weeks. Then they received three messages a week for a
further five months. They were also given one month of free personal
texting, starting on their quit day, as an incentive.

similar group of young smokers received one month free texting six
months after their designated quit day, but no text messages designed
to help them quit.

weeks after quit day, 28% of the group that received the texts claimed
to have quit, compared with 13% of the control group. To check these
self-reported results, the team analysed levels of cotinine, a nicotine
breakdown product, in the saliva of one in 10 of the participants. The
results were the same for both groups – about half of those who claimed
to have given up were actually still smoking. Quit rates appeared to
remain high after six months, although the results are less certain
because many of the participants were lost to follow up.   


Repetition does matter; here is the story.


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