The military has a new tool in the fight to keep its soldiers healthy: the text message. SmokefreeMIL, a part of the Defense Department’s “Quit Tobacco – Make Everyone Proud” campaign, sends service members motivational text messages that can help them bust through cravings, navigate relapses, and stay on the path toward a healthy, smokefree future.
How SmokefreeMIL Works
When service members sign up for SmokefreeMIL, they receive daily text messages, personalized to where they are on their quitting journey. They can also get pick-me-ups and advice when they have a particularly bad craving, or a lapse. This powerful tool, especially alongside other aids, can help service members quit and stay smoke-free.
Smoking is an easy way for members of the military to relieve stress, relax, and fight boredom. But the price is high. One of the biggest predictors of failure in military training is being a smoker, and military smokers are more likely to sustain injuries and perform poorly on fitness evaluations. This costs the Department of Defense $1.6 billion dollars per year.
Quitting smoking, however, is notoriously difficult. A simple series of text messages can be an invaluable aid in the fight against addiction.
Members of the military who are interested in signing up for SmokefreeMIL should text MIL to 47848.
An Offshoot of the National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT
Smokefree MIL is an offshoot of the National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT campaign. That program starts with a 14-day countdown to quitting, followed by six weeks of encouraging messages to help quitters follow through. SmokefreeTXT has already more than doubled quit rates among teenagers.
Text messages are a powerful way to help people change all kinds of behaviors. Studies have shown that text messages encourage parents to help their children live healthier lifestyles, and help HIV+ patients remember to take their medications.
People can often forget to do what’s best for themselves or their families while dealing with the hectic challenges of everyday life. By providing them a personal reminder, right in their pockets on the device they use most, a text message can help people lead the healthy lives they aspire to.