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Texting helps Maori quit smoking

Texting helps Maori quit smoking

Text messaging to mobile phones can help young Maori kick the smoking habit, according to research in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal (attached).

The study, carried out by researchers from Auckland University, involved young Maori being sent regular personalised text messages providing smoking cessation advice, support, and distraction. They were also able to send free text messages.

“We all know how much young people like text messaging, so it is heartening to know that this popular new technology can also be effectively used for important public health purposes,” said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.

“The health benefits of quitting smoking are well known, so it is an excellent idea to use innovative new technology in the anti-smoking battle.”

Almost half Maori smoke, compared with 21 percent of non-Maori. Youth smoking has declined in recent years, but not for young Maori women. There are significant health inequalities between the groups.

The research says health inequalities are likely to further increase unless effective smoking cessation programmes can be designed that specifically target Maori. Quit smoking programmes must also be appropriate to specific age groups.

More than 85 percent of young New Zealanders now have a mobile phone, and more than a million text messages are sent every day.

ENDS

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