To provide anti-smoking support to the approximately 20% of teens who smoke, the National Cancer Institute has launched the SmokefreeTXT program. After signing up, teens receive text messages up to one month prior to the quit date they choose with reminders and support tips, like, “What makes you wanna smoke? Stress? Boredom? Parties? Write down your top 3 smoking triggers. Knowing ur triggers is the only way to avoid them!”
Users are also texted up to six weeks after they quit, with notes like, “Wow, 2 weeks smokefree! Have you rewarded yourself for not smoking? Use your extra cash for tha't new app, music, movie, or concert tickets.”
Teens can text the iQUIT “hotline” for support, too. “Want” triggers the program to send an encouraging reminder to think twice before lighting up.
The NCI initiative is one of the Department of Health and Human Services' efforts to provide smoking cessation support to teens, along with a website, teen.smokefree.gov, and a free smartphone app, QuitSTART (an interactive guide that tracks cravings, monitors quit attempts, and gives tips, expected to launch this month). Anyone over age 13 can sign up at teen.smokefree.gov/smokefreeTXT.aspx.