Bilingual Texts to Help Quit Smoking

By Cliff Despres

Smoking is a tough opponent to beat.

Quitxt is a free texting service in English or Spanish that turns your mobile phone into a personal coach to help you quit smoking, using interactive and entertaining texts, online support, and music and videos from UT Health San Antonio researchers.

The service’s bilingual texts help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, finding things to do instead of smoking, handling stress, and more.

Join in English: Text “iquit” to 57682.

Join in Spanish: Text “lodejo” to 57682.

“Text-message applications have scientifically proven to roughly double one’s odds of quitting smoking, so we developed Quitxt specifically for young adult Latinos to help them quit for good,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, study leader and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.

Smoking rates are high among Mexican Americans along the border and across South Texas, ranging from 23.2% to 25.7%, heightening the risk of cancer and heart disease.

But few culturally relevant, accessible programs target this problem.

In response, Ramirez’s team joined with text-message system expert Dr. David Akopian of UT San Antonio to develop the Quitxt texting and online support service. They adapted components of proven federal tobacco cessation programs and built a texting system and mobile online support content to fit the unique culture and linguistic styles of Latinos who smoke tobacco cigarettes in San Antonio, Laredo, Del Rio, and across South Texas.

Quitxt, made possible by a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, is now enrolling English- and Spanish-speaking smokers ages 18 and older.

Watch how the program works:

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