SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 13, 2015) – Quitxt, a free, culturally relevant text-message and online support service to help Latino young adults in South Texas quit smoking, was launched today by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and the endorsement of the San Antonio Scorpions soccer team, SA2020 and other businesses and health groups.
The Quitxt service (https://quitxt.org/) helps people beat smoking by regularly texting them interactive messages, real-time support, hip-hop music, videos, and other educational content designed to help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and more.
To join, text “iquit” to 57682.
“We developed Quitxt specifically for young adult Latino smokers to capitalize on their heavy usage of texting to help them quit,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, study leader and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center.
Tobacco kills about 3,000 people in South Texas every year.
Smoking rates are high among Mexican Americans along the border and across South Texas, ranging from 23.2 percent to 25.7 percent, heightening the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Few culturally relevant, accessible, regional programs target this issue.
In response, Ramirez and her team joined with text-message system expert Dr. David Akopian of UT San Antonio to develop the Quitxt automated texting and online support service. They adapted components of proven federal tobacco cessation programs and built a texting system and content to fit the unique culture and linguistic styles of Latino young adults who smoke tobacco cigarettes in San Antonio, Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio.
Text-message applications, as well as telephone and online counseling, have been shown to roughly double successful quit rates among smokers, with more impact in younger age groups.
Quitxt accepts young adult smokers ages 18-29 and adults 30+. Once enrolled, a person will receive four months of text messages with real-time support, and links to mobile-phone web pages with educational content, hip-hop music, videos and other entertaining content to help:
• Get really motivated to beat smoking
• Build a team to get support
• Set a quit date and stick with it
• Find things to do instead of smoking
• Use nicotine replacements if needed
• Get active and avoid binge drinking
• Handle stress without smoking
• Defend themselves against temptations
• Learn what it takes to quit for good
“We feel our service will increase Latino young adults’ smoking quit rates, and provide a model of service that can be cost-effectively replicated across Texas,” Dr. Ramirez said.
Quitxt, made possible by a $1.4 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, is available now in English, and will be rolled out in Spanish in early 2016.
Quitxt already has widespread endorsement in San Antonio, including:
The Quitxt service is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio and includes: Amelie G. Ramirez (director), Kip Gallion (co-director), Alfred McAlister (evaluator), Patricia Chalela (coordinator), Cliff Despres (communications), and Arely Perez and Robert Garcia (outreach). Dr. Akopian and his team at UT San Antonio, including Jafet Morales, Rodrigo Escobar, Suraj Edamana, and Warriem Sankarawarrier, built the texting component of the service.
View the Quitxt website: https://quitxt.org/.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $801.8 million operating budget supports six campuses in San Antonio and Laredo. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit uthscsa.edu.
The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio investigates the causes and solutions to the unequal impact of cancer and chronic disease among certain populations, including Latinos, in San Antonio, South Texas and the nation. The IHPR, founded in 2006, uses evidence-guided research, training and community outreach to improve the health of those at a disadvantage due to race/ethnicity or social determinants, such as education or income. Visit the IHPR online at http://ihpr.uthscsa.edu or follow its blog at http://www.saludtoday.com/blog.