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American Cancer Society Launches SMS Text Messaging Tool To Help Smokers Quit

 

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New York, NY (1/31/2011) - Support and encouragement for smokers trying to quit is now only a text message away. Smokers feeling the need to light up simply send a text to their QuitBuddy and receive a text back with a tip to help them fight the urge to smoke.

The American Cancer Society’s QuitBuddy is a simple SMS tool to help smokers stay motivated and informed as they quit smoking. Smokers trying to quit are encouraged to text QUIT or BUDDY to 22723 whenever they feel the urge to light up. QUIT will send back helpful information about the benefits of smoking cessation and links to mobile Web pages with additional resources. BUDDY sends back funny messages of encouragement and support to help ward off a bad craving.

“Many smokers want to quit,” says Michael Seserman, director of cancer prevention strategies for the American Cancer Society of New York & New Jersey, “but cigarettes are manufactured to be highly addictive. A tool like QuitBuddy is with you at all times, providing tips and distractions that help with the rough times, increasing the chances of becoming a non-smoker.”

Recent studies indicate that SMS tools could be an effective tool in helping smokers quit, especially when used as part of a comprehensive smoking cessation program. In December 2011, the Community Preventive Services Task Force – a nonfederal body of public health and prevention experts, whose members are appointed by the Director of CDC – made this determination: “The Task Force recommends mobile phone-based interventions for tobacco cessation based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness in increasing tobacco use abstinence among people interested in quitting. Evidence was considered sufficient based on findings from six studies in which mobile phone-based interventions were implemented alone or in combination with Internet-based interventions.”

Using QuitBuddy, once a smoker opts in by texting QUIT to 22723, the SMS platform automatically returns a random message from a library of smoking cessation facts and tips, all designed to provide the subscriber with a sense of urgency and conviction in the crucial moment that they are considering having a cigarette. The randomized SMS auto-response also includes a short URL that links to mobilized tobacco cessation content pages on cancer.org. The user can also text BUDDY, which generates an instant response message designed to distract, amuse, inspire and encourage the subscriber through a craving.

This is the first tool of its kind designed exclusively by the American Cancer Society for the general public, geared towards users age 25-35. The importance of effective smoking cessation tools cannot be understated, as one-third of cancer deaths could be prevented if people avoided tobacco products. In New York State alone, 2.3 million adults (15.5%) still smoke. Also in New Jersey 968,600 million adults (14.4%) still smoke, and quitting may help them add up to eight years to their life.

Additional Resources
QuitBuddy on Facebook
QuitBuddy Tweets
American Cancer Society Guide to Quitting Smoking

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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