Health & Studies

Dawkins’ Flavour Research

New research looking at the impact of stop smoking text messages finds success through supporting smokers’ flavour choices

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New research looking at the impact of stop smoking text messages finds success through supporting smokers’ flavour choices. The study “Co-production of a mobile phone text message programme to support people to stop smoking by switching to vaping” has been published by JMIR Publications and demonstrated a huge improvement in tobacco quit rates.

The work was conducted Vassilis Sideropoulos, Dr Eleni Vangeli, Dr Felix Naughton PhD, Professor Sharon Cox, Dr Daniel Frings, Professor Caitlin Notley, Professor Jamie Brown, Dr Catherine Kimber, and Professor Lynne Dawkins. The research team come from University College London, London South Bank University (LSBU), and the University of East Anglia.

LSBU’s Professor Lynne Dawkins led the study showing that tobacco users who receive text support to identify the flavour that will best work for them in a quit attempt increases their chances of success.

The authors state: “Text messages are effective smoking cessation interventions. However, there is little research on text message interventions for people who smoke and wish to quit by switching to vaping. Over three phases, we co-developed and co-produced a mobile phone text message programme. The co-production paradigm allowed us to collaborate with researchers and the community to develop a more relevant, effective, and equitable text message programme.”

The first phase of the study involved the team contacting vapers and seeking their help in crafting text messages aimed at smokers looking to quit by encouraging them to switch to vaping.

The second phase targeted 202 smokers and asked them to rate the messages from the first phase in an online survey. The subjects ranked the texts in a number of aspects including whether they were interesting, inoffensive, positive or enthusiastic.

Those ranking highest for understandability, clarity, and believability were then passed on to a working group and vapers to formulate a final set of messages.

During the final phase, the team sent those messages out as part of a randomised optimisation trial to 603 participants.

According to the researchers, “70% of the participants who received the text messages found them useful.”

They said that analysis of the responsesshowed a significant association between quit rates and usefulness ratings which highlights the need for further research to examine the impact of different types of text messages on quit rates. We encourage researchers to use the present mobile phone text message programme and adapt it to target populations and relevant contexts; for instance, by considering the use of disposable vapes.”

Commenting on the findings, Professor Lynne Dawkins said: “Smoking kills approximately 8 million people worldwide every year and even some of the often most effective treatments have little effect on reducing the number of smokers. From this treatment, 24.5% were smoke-free after three months and a further 13% had reduced their cigarette consumption by more than 50%. The simplicity of tailored support through flavour advice and supportive messages could have a huge impact in helping people lead smoke-free lives.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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