National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT Helps Smokers Countdown to Quitting


We’ve been seeing a lot recently how tremendously successful text messages are as a tool for helping smokers quit. Text message campaigns are used in cities like New York and Louisville, and research shows how effective it is – sometimes even doubling quit rates.

Now there’s a nationwide smoking cessation service that’s designed for teens and young adults in the United States. The National Cancer Institute is launching SmokefreeTXT, and it takes advantage of the flexibility of mobile to have a two-way, personalized conversation with every user.

Smoking Cessation Messages over Mobile

The program works like a 14-day countdown to quitting, followed with six weeks of encouraging messages to help quitters follow through. People can sign up by texting by texting the word QUIT to IQUIT (47848), or from three dedicated websites for adults, teens, and Spanish-speakers.

What’s exciting about SmokefreeTXT is how responsive it is to individual users. In addition to structuring messages around individual quit dates, the program has some neat features that make it more flexible. Several times over the 8-week period, it assesses the smoker’s mood, craving level, and smokefree status with simple text questions, and responds accordingly. If a user reports that they’ve taken up smoking again, the program gives them the option to continue the program as planned or set a new quit date. And if the user reports discouragement or frustration, they’ll get a programmed response that fits the situation. The system even follows up months later to check on the user’s smokefree status and offers any extra help they need.


Click here to read our Smoking Cessation case study.

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