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Text messaging initiative targets young smokers

targets young smokers
A developer of mobile messaging programs is teaming with the National Cancer Institute to launch a text messaging service targeted at teen and young adult smokers.

The alliance between Mobile Commons and the NCI is the next step in the five-year-old, New York-based company’s efforts to develop a resource center for healthcare-related programs. To that end, the company has also rolled out the Mobile Commons for Health platform.
The collaboration with NCI targets a growing segment of the population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent of the nation’s teens are smokers, and 80 percent of adults who smoke began before they’d turned 18 years old. In addition, according to Nielsen, teens send and receive nearly 3,500 text messages per month.

Teens and young adults can join the Smokefree TXT campaign by texting QUIT to 47848 or through the SmokefreeTXT website. Participants will then receive text messages focused on their selected quit date and will continue to receive texts for up to six weeks after that date.

“We are proud to partner with the National Cancer Institute on such an important and effective use of mobile messaging,” said Jed Alpert, CEO and Co-founder of Mobile Commons, in a May 16 press release. “We know how great the possibilities are for effecting real change through mobile messaging – from helping heavy smokers quit smoking to motivating HIV+ patients to adhere to complicated medication regimens. Our new health edition will make it even easier for healthcare organizations of all types to drive healthy outcomes by reaching people on the device they use most – their mobile phone.”
The Mobile Commons for Health platform is designed to extend a program that has been used in the past by the New York City Department of Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the California Department of Public Health, the New York MTA, the San Francisco MTA, Nike, the AARP and the Humane Society. Mobile Commons’ user interface and APIs are designed to integrate text, voice and web applications with participating organizations’ CRMs, databases and social marketing tools, and can be integrated as well with real-time analytics and reporting tools.

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