Efficacy of short message service (SMS) in smoking cessation program among police personnel in Chennai city - an interventional study
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Ragas Dental College, Public Health Dentistry, India
Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, Public Health Dentistry, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A322
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Tobacco use is estimated to cause 800,000 deaths by 2015 in India annually.With changing patterns of lifestyle, smoking is falsely interpreted as a means to cope with negative emotions and to relieve mental stress.Research has shown that Policemen may consume tobacco at rates higher than the general population.
Text messaging is a means of reinforcement to tobacco cessation counseling which may favor smoking abstinence among police personnel and would provide an attractive, cost-effective method of intervention and follow ups. With no existing literature done in Indian population a randomized control study was conducted, aimed to assess the efficacy of tobacco cessation counseling with and without reinforcement through text messaging among policemen in Chennai city.

A concurrent parallel randomized control trial. A total of 100 Police personnel working within the jurisdiction of Chennai City were recruited using simple random sampling methodology. Two subzones were randomly selected from each zone. Participants in one arm were given intervention in the form of SMS text message in addition to regular tobacco cessation counseling and control arm were given regular tobacco cessation intervention in the form of counseling. Addiction level was measured by the 6 items scale of Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND).

In the intervention group 32 participants expressed abstinence at baseline which decreased to 14 participants. As of the control group 29 participants abstained from smoking cigarettes at baseline which decreased to 5 participants at the end of the third month. Significant difference after one month (p=0.008) and after 3 months (p=0.02) was observed between the groups.

Intervention by SMS is considerably inexpensive, most people already possess mobile phone, and the messages were delivered spontaneously into real-life situations and have been proved as an effective way to deal with smoking dependence among police personnel in Chennai city.