Spanish texting program to help young adults quit smoking

UT Health San Antonio researchers are launching a Spanish version of Quitxt, a free service that sends text messages with culturally tailored support to help young adults in South Texas quit smoking.

Quitxt turns a user’s phone into a personal quit-smoking coach by providing texts and links to online support, educational content, music, and videos to help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and more. The service lasts four months.

The service first launched in English in 2015.

More than 1 in 5 Quitxt users fully quit smoking after completing the English version, according to preliminary data. This quit rate is similar or better than other texting programs.

You can join Quitxt now:

For Spanish, text “lodejo” to 57682 or visit quitxt.org/spanish.

For English, text “iquit” to 57682 or visit quitxt.org/.

“If you’re thinking about quitting smoking and you’re always on your phone, Quitxt is a perfect program for you, whether you speak English or Spanish,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., director of Quitxt and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.

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, Dr. Ramirez and her team joined with text-message system expert David Akopian, Ph.D., 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 have been shown to roughly double successful quit rates among smokers, with greater impact in younger age groups.

Young adult smokers ages 18-29 and adults 30+ can enroll in Quitxt. Once enrolled, a person will receive regular texts with real-time support and links to online educational content, 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 is made possible by a $1.4 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The service is endorsed by the UT Health San Antonio Cancer Center and SA2020.

Quitxt is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio and includes: Amelie G. Ramirez (director), Kip Gallion (co-director), Alfred McAlister (evaluator), Patricia Chalela (coordinator), Edgar Munoz (data analysis), Cliff Despres (communications), and Andrea Fernandez and Rafael Diaz (outreach). Dr. Akopian and his team at UT San Antonio built the text-message component of the service.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, with missions of teaching, research and healing, is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities and is now called UT Health San Antonio™. UT Health’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 33,000 alumni who are advancing their fields throughout the world. With four campuses in San Antonio and Laredo, UT Health has a FY 2017 revenue operating budget of $806.6 million and is the primary driver of its community’s $37 billion biomedical and health care industry. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health 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.

For current news from the IHPR at the UT Health San Antonio, please visit our blog or follow us on Twitter @SaludToday.



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