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Twitter2quit to help you stop smoking

Twitter2quit to help you stop smoking
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Not just news alerts, micro-blogging website Twitter can help smokers kick the butt in a more efficient way than traditional methods, scientists have...

New York: Not just news alerts, micro-blogging website Twitter can help smokers kick the butt in a more efficient way than traditional methods, scientists have revealed. The team from the University of California-Irvine and Stanford University found that a real-time, fully automated, Twitter-based smoking intervention programme called “Tweet2Quit” was twice as successful at kicking the habit as those using traditional ways.

The results indicate significant possibilities for using social media as a delivery mechanism for health prevention intervention, specifically in smoking cessation. Because of the low cost and high scalability of social media, 'Tweet2Quit' has tremendous potential to deliver low-cost tobacco treatments on a global scale.

Tweet2Quit” uses a hybrid approach combining automated messages delivered to small, private, virtual self-help groups of smokers who are motivated to quit via the social media platform of Twitter. The messages are based on clinical guidelines for smoking cessation and employ positive, open-ended questions that encourage online discussion, such as “What will you do when you feel the urge to smoke?

The twice-daily messages encouraged people to tweet their group members, which made them more accountable for quitting. The online virtual support groups provide scientists with novel insights into the process by which smokers are committing to quitting and supporting each other in these efforts.

Beyond smoking cessation, the researchers will examine the potential of the internet and more specifically social media, to encourage and support small, virtual self-help groups for health promotion and disease prevention such as weight control and exercise.

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