By: Rose Snipes
Teenagers can always be seen with their cell phones, usually texting. Although teens can become almost obsessed with texting, there is something good that comes out of it. The National Cancer Institute has come up with a new Smokefree T-X-T program.
The 24 hour service is free, and it helps young teenage smokers via text messages to stop the habit of smoking by sending helpful advice and encouraging tips. A lot of teens may have a hard time quitting, may be unaware of the consequences or just feel unmotivated to stop, but with the tips and advice, the institute hopes the smokers will feel more encouraged to quite the harmful habit.
Erik Augustson, a behavioral scientist in NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch says, “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.”
The teenagers sign up and choose a reasonable date for quitting, and the messages are sent for up to six weeks until their quitting day. If the texts are not enough, there’s a website where teens can chat and encourage one another to quitting smoking.
An app called QuitSTART will be launched for the smartphone in early 2012 and has an interactive guide for delivering tips, monitoring attempts at quit, and helping by tracking cravings.
Hopefully the text apps will inspire and provoke teens to make the right decision for themselves. Help spread the word, and if you know any family members or loved ones who smoke, tell them about the smokefree T-X-T program or give them the website http://smokefree.gov/smokefreetxt/.