A Mobile Phone-Based Life Skills Training Program for Substance Use Prevention Among Adolescents: Pre-Post Study on the Acceptance and Potential Effectiveness of the Program, Ready4life
OBJECTIVE The aim of this study is to test the acceptance and efficacy of an individualised text messaging (SMS)-based intervention to support smoking cessation in apprentices of vocational schools. METHODS The SMS program MyWay, which generated individualised text messages to support smoking cessation based on an online assessment and a weekly SMS assessment, was developed. The text messages were based on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change and sent to the programme participants over a period of 3 months. The programme was tested in 62 school classes at 6 vocational schools in Bremen, Germany, where 1 086 apprentices participated in an online assessment addressing demographic and smoking related variables. RESULTS A total of 415 persons (38%) fulfilled the inclusion criteria "daily cigarette smoking", "ownership of a cell phone" and "regular use of text messaging". Of these, 210 persons (51%) participated in the programme. A 6-month follow-up telephone interview for the evaluation of the SMS programme and the assessment of smoking-related variables could be conducted in 125 (60%) of the 210 programme participants. Compared to the baseline assessment, the smoking prevalence (7-day-point prevalence abstinence, 11%) and the intention to stop smoking (p<0.01) were higher at the 6-month follow-up. Furthermore, cigarette craving was lower at 6-month follow-up among persons who still smoked at this point in time (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS In comparison to other smoking cessation services, this intervention approach allows us to reach a substantial part of smokers in vocational schools. The text messaging programme is promising for the support of smoking cessation in young adults.