Voxiva Launches Text2Quit(SM) to Help Smokers Quit With the Help of Their Mobile Phone

From the same company that launched Text4baby(SM), the nation's largest mobile health initiative

Jun 08, 2011, 08:33 ET from Voxiva

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world by Fast Company, Voxiva, Inc. announced today the availability of Text2Quit(SM), a highly interactive and innovative approach to smoking cessation. Developed with The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Text2Quit uses SMS/text, email and web support to help smokers quit at a higher rate than other methods alone.

Text2Quit delivers customized educational content based on the user's own quit date.  It enables users to complete surveys to receive advice, play games to fight off cravings, select the best possible prescription or over-the-counter therapies as cessation aids, and collects data to help the user monitor their achievement towards their own goals.  "Text2Quit offers smoking cessation support in the same way we have provided maternal and infant health information so successfully through Text4baby," said Justin Sims, Voxiva's CEO.  "We are using our highly scalable mobile health platform to put this service into the hands of hundreds of thousands of smokers that otherwise would not have access to smoking cessation support."  

According to Dr. Lorien Abroms, lead designer and author of the Text2Quit program and an assistant professor at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, "Studies have shown that text-based smoking cessation programs have resulted in an approximate doubling of abstinence rates.  Our initial tests have shown promising results, and we are now starting a larger study to examine further benefits of this program."

Text2Quit will be available through employers, health plans, and public health departments, and can be incorporated into existing wellness initiatives.  Because Text2Quit works through any mobile phone via text message, it is immediately accessible to almost all of the U.S. population as compared to web-only or device specific approaches.  One of the participants that quit smoking using Text2Quit said, "I liked the program because it has and continues to help me [quit smoking].I was originally motivated, but didn't really think I would actually quit."

Each year in America, according to the CDC and American Cancer Society:

  • 46 million people in the U.S. smoke (that's 20.6% of the adult population)
  • 17 million smokers try to quit but only 1.3 million succeed
  • 443,000 people die as a result of smoking – that is 1 in 5 of all deaths in the U.S.
  • Tobacco use costs the United States $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in healthcare costs

A recent Pew Research report shows that some 85% of adults own a cell phone and 72% use their phone to send or receive text messages. Additionally, Text2Quit is especially useful for reaching underserved communities because of the high prevalence of mobile phones vs. the internet.  According to a 2010 PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute report, 79% of Medicaid beneficiaries send text messages on a regular basis.

"In addition to a huge impact on quality of life, there is a compelling return on investment in smoking cessation programs for employers, health plans, and government," said Sims. "By doubling abstinence rates, a business can expect to see a 3 to 4 fold return from Text2Quit in the first year alone."

Looking ahead, Dr. Abroms and Voxiva are working to develop additional smoking cessation resources for high-risk populations. One such program, Quit4Baby(SM), targets pregnant women who smoke and will build off of Text4baby, a service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. Abroms said, "Approximately 13% of pregnant women in the U.S. smoke.  If we can reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnant women, even by one percent, the benefits to women, babies, and society are enormous and immediate."

Voxiva will hold a press briefing at 3 PM EDT, Wednesday, 6/8/2011

About The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education that we have since expanded substantially. Today, more than 1,200 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 38 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health.

The development of Text2Quit was partially supported by Award Number K07CA124579 from the National Cancer Institute to Dr. Lorien Abroms.  The Works contained herein are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

About Voxiva, Inc.

Founded in 2001, Voxiva is a global pioneer in delivering interactive mobile health services. We leverage the world's 5 billion mobile phones to communicate and interact with people to help them live healthier lives. All of our patient engagement services incorporate social marketing approaches and evidenced-based best practices to deliver highly effective and engaging solutions. Voxiva's programs support a broad range of health topics such as maternal & child health, smoking cessation, and diabetes self-management.

In 2011, Fast Company recognized Voxiva as one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world, and #3 on the list of most innovative companies in the Mobile industry and the Health Care industry. Voxiva has extensive global experience having delivered services in 16 countries.

PR Contact:
Emilia Guasconi, Voxiva, Inc.
(202) 419-0179

Anne Banner, GW School of Public Health and Health Services
(202) 994-2261