Ah, smoking cessation — a crucial intervention to be done by the pharmacist, yet one of the most awkward and dreaded patient encounters you can imagine. Nobody wants to be cursed by a man (or woman) low on their nicotine.
Actual smoking cessation is not what I wanted to talk about today. Rather, it is the new methods of smoking cessation that I find most interesting.
An interesting study was done in late February about the effectiveness of text-message based smoking cessation. Now, if you’re anything like me, you might actually write that study off as bogus right away. Who wants constant, annoying text messages that are reminding you to take a break from your daily nicotine fix(es)? Who wants a faceless “person” telling them what not to do?
I did read the study and found the results to be shocking. 26% of the test group and 15% of the control group actually reported an 8 week period of smoking cessation all together after beginning the text message program. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, these results are actually comparable to the quit rates seen while using traditional methods of smoking cessation such as the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, etc. I don’t know about you, but those results are pretty staggering for a text message program.
If people can use a simple text message program to quit smoking, what else can we do with this kind of technology? How else can we integrate our cell phones, laptops, iPads, and other technologies with programs and apps that are developed with our health in mind? People use health based technology very regularly – those people who check the WebMD Symptom Checker to try and self diagnose their latest ailment (and end up regretting it because WebMD always tells you that you’re having a medical emergency), those people who use their phones or FitBits to track their steps and activities every day, calorie counting apps, the list could go on and on. Why not create specific text message programs, like the smoking cessation service, that provides daily encouragement, support, and friendly reminders for those with a specific disease state or those trying to make positive lifestyle modifications? Not to mention, these text message programs are free (standard data rates may apply) as opposed to traditional methods of self-improvement.
Do you like what you’re reading? Find out more information HERE.
If you’d like to check out the study yourselves, you can find it HERE.
I hope you guys find this as interesting as I do. Technology can be detrimental, but used correctly, it can lead us to better health.
Till next time,