Today's teens are part of the texting generation. In an effort to help young smokers kick the habit, the National Cancer Institute is creating a new program with something very familiar, text messaging. Its called Smokefree T-X-T. It is a free text message service that provides 24 hour encouragement, advice, and tips to teens trying to quit smoking. Teens sign up, and select a quit date. After that, text messages are timed to their selected quit date and they're sent on a regular basis. Following their quit date, they will continue to receive texts for up to six weeks.
Health Educator for MVP Kristine Lindahl says the program has promise, "If there is a powerful initiative around this, and they are seeing something and it is there in their face, I think it will have an impact on awareness. Awareness is the beginning." Lindahl says extra reinforcement can help someone with a change in behavior.
Smoking experts say six weeks is a critical time, because that's when people need the most support to stay off tobacco for good. According to the NCI, 20 percent of American teens are smokers and most will continue to smoke as they age.
It takes less nicotine to get a teen addicted when compared with an adult. Cancer researchers have found the addiction is so strong, a large number of colon and lung cancer patients did not give up smoking, even though they knew it wasn't good for them.
Lindahl says adults need to set an example, and stay on top of smoke free initiative that send out a message which is already supported by medical research, proving that smoking can not only increase cancer rates but it can also be the root of many other health issues.
The NCI is hoping this modern day advice line will help some kids through the difficult process of giving up smoking.
Teens can sign up online at http://www.Teen.Smokefree.Gov or text quit to iquit (47848).