Can mobile phones help smokers kick the butt?

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Melbourne, July 04 (ANI): Mobile phones could be the next weapon in the fight against smoking, says a scientist.

According to The Mercury, Dr Stuart Ferguson, researcher at the University of Tasmania, is about to conduct a study to find whether new technologies like text messaging could be used to help smokers in kicking the butt.

According to Ferguson, the four-week study would involve 50 smokers who would be using education and support strategies in an attempt of quitting smoking.

"Our main aim is to try to understand how and why these types of interventions work and discover ways to deliver them more effectively," News.com.au quoted Ferguson as saying.

"SMS has been trialled in other countries as a method of delivering education and support to smokers and while we know it works, we don't know how it works. Aspects we will look at include how often text messages have to be sent for a program to be effective, the best times to send them and whether it is the content or the quantity of the messages which make them effective," he added.

Ferguson said that the text messages would include helpful hints and quitting strategies.

"For example, one of the messages we will send is: 'Try to avoid high-risk situations, like the pub or parties, for the first week or so.' This can help make the early days easier," he said.

"We are hoping to be able to create a snapshot of the type of things people do while smoking and the drivers or triggers to smoking," he added.

Education and support strategies had huge potential for battling smoking, Ferguson said.

If people find themselves craving nicotine, they could text 'crave' to the program and get immediate advice on what to do.

The study appeared in the Cochrane Library, a publication of the international research organisation the Cochrane Collaboration. (ANI)

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