I just learned that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has launched a Mobile phone app (“SmokefreeTXT”) and a social media campaign designed to help teens quit smoking (see “Nci Launches Smoking Cessation Support For Teens“).
SmokefreeTXT is a free text message cessation service that provides 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to teens trying to quit smoking.
“Once they sign up, teens receive text messages timed according to their selected quit date. Following their quit date, they will continue receiving texts for up to six weeks — a critical piece of the SmokefreeTXT service, as research shows that cessation support continues to be important beyond the first few weeks of quitting. Teens can sign up online at or text QUIT to iQUIT (47848).”
An image of an iPhone with a quit smoking text message is shown on the left (click on it for an enlarged view).
I hope it’s more personalized, so instead of saying “Teen: SUCKY” it says something like “John feels SUCKY today.” Maybe with a little sad face emoticon 🙁 afterward.
I like the encouraging message, however. “Do something positive. Get your zumba on, shoot some hoops, or crank up your iPod.”
There’s also a website (here), @SmokefreeTeen Twitter account, and a FaceBook page (here). I call this type of campaign “SoMo” because it combines social media with a mobile app. It would have been nice to integrate social media INTO the mobile app — eg, have quit smoking buddies and see how THEY are feeling today right on your iPhone (or iPad).
The About SfT page notes that “We’re NOT ging to tell you what to do.” As if anyone can tell teenagers what to do!
One of the things I like about social media is how easy it is to see how “successful” campaigns like these will be. We can always look at how many followers a Twitter account has and how many “Likes” a Facebook page gets. It’s always possible, however, to game the system and artificially inflate the number of your Twitter followers or Facebook likes. But that’s another story (see “How Did Pfizer Get So Many Twitter Followers?“).