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Jun 07, 2014 04:07 PM EDT

Text Messaging Program Could Get Smokers To Quit

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A text messaging program may be able to get smokers to quit smoking, according to a recent study ABC News reported.

Researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University found that smokers who used the popular texting program "Text2Quit," were more than twice as likely to stop smoking, ABC News reported.

The texting program encourages smokers to quit by sending them texts that tells them how much money they could save if they stopped smoking, or provides advice on adhering to smoking cessation drugs.

Users of Text2Quit can also text keywords at any point, such as "CRAVE" to receive a tip to keep their mind off smoking, or "SMOKED" to indicate they have relapsed, to receive tips on getting back on track.

"Text messages seem to give smokers the constant reminders they need to stay focused on quitting, however, additional studies must be done to confirm this result and to look at how these programs work when coupled with other established anti-smoking therapies," Lorien C. Abroms, lead author of the study and developer of the program, said in a statement.

For the study, researchers recruited more than 500 people smokers via the Internet and randomly selected half of them to receive text messages from the program Text2Quit, while the others got self-help material aimed at getting them to quit, ABC News reported.

Participants were required to submit saliva tests to see if they had smoke a cigarette during the study.

Researchers found that after the six-month study, the Text2Quit got more than 11 percent of smokers to quit, compared with only 5 percent of those who were not able to.

 "This is a tool that people are regularly using, in touch with, living their lives attached to," Abroms said, according to ABC News. "Given how widespread mobile phone use is, it's great we can take advantage of it to help people quit smoking."

Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 American's per year, with second-hand smoke killing an estimated 41,000 people, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently more than 75,000 people in the United States have enrolled in the Text2Quit program through quit lines.

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