It doesn’t seem like something as small as a text message could actually help a smoker kick their addictive habit, but a British study suggests that receiving supportive texts actually does help. In fact, it can double a person’s chance of quitting—and staying nicotine-free. Even better, it’s incredibly cost-effective, since texts are so inexpensive.
(We've talked about how other, similar nudge techniques can help you with your finances. Read more.)
Talk Is Cheap
Among the other implications extrapolated from the results, the authors noted the project’s potential for being a low-cost alternative to other common quitting methods. Compare these costs:
- Nicotine Gum: $55 for gum starter pack, $33 for refills; for 12 weeks, $500 to $625
- Nicotine Lozenges: $55 for 72 lozenges; for 12 weeks, $750 to $925
- Nicotine Patch: $250 for a full 3-step program
- Inhalers: $400 per month
- Prescription Medications: $120 to $250 per 30-day supply
- Counseling Services: $80 to $200 per hour
Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on these products, smokers could instead sign up for a text message-based plan, which promises to be much less costly; the cheapest plan on the market at the moment offers 200 texts for $5 per month.
More broadly, a text-based quitting system could greatly help smokers in developing countries (where smoking is particularly prevalent) say “C U l8er” to cigarettes for good.
Texting can do more than just help you quit. Here’s how free text messages help with healthy living.