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Text messages help smokers quit

People trying to quit smoking are twice as likely to succeed when they regularly receive encouraging text messages on their phones, according to research.

Around 3,000 people took part in the txt2stop trial, which involved examining the effects of supportive text messages on smokers.

For the first five weeks, the randomly selected participants were sent five supportive text messages per day and the next six months they received just three per week.

The messages, developed with the help of smokers, gave advice for keeping weight off while quitting and encouraged participants to control their urge for smoking.

One of the messages read: "This is it! - QUIT DAY, throw away all your fags. TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you can do it!"

"Cravings last less than five minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over," another example of a motivational message received by the participants."

The results, published today in The Lancet medical journal, showed a 10.7% success rate for those receiving the motivational texts compared with 4.9% for members of the control group.

Copyright © Press Association 2011