It is interesting to note that smokers—in the millions—turn to the internet for assistance to quit the bad habit of smoking. However, no matter how interactive or perfectly designed the website is, minimal engagement is seen when it comes to smokers quitting the habit. Thus, the concept of using text messaging in promoting adherence to the smoking cessation treatment. Especially knowing that the use of mobile devices is ubiquitous and in other health behavior change, patient adherence via text messaging has shown to be effective.

The 4 Aspects of Patient Adherence via Text Messaging

As identified by the researchers of the study, these are the four aspects of a text message that can enhance patient’s adherence to web-based quit smoking treatment programs.

  • Personalization – when patients perceive that the message they receive is personally relevant, then they are more likely to process the said information. Previous research that use of personalization amplifies the attention of the smoker to the quality of data received as well as to the written information itself.
  • Integration – in a study conducted by Webb et al, it showed that for a variety of health behaviors, patient adherence via text messaging has enhanced the effectiveness of internet interventions. Thus, the study incorporates a multimodal and fully integrated intervention with the use of evidence-based parts of an intervention via web-based assisted by interactive text messages.
  • Dynamic Tailoring – Since personalization basically touches on the constant elements of a message like patient’s name, age, gender and the likes, dynamic tailoring on the other hand zeroes on constructs that are theory driven connected to a desired and specific result. Based on a client’s past engagement pattern, tailoring text messages on these can prove to be more effective than letting clients navigate the process on their own.
  • Message Intensity – when it comes to patient adherence via text messaging, the program of messages is delivered intensively in the first few weeks, before slowly tapering down in numbers. It is identified by the researchers that decreasing message intensity especially hand in hand with dynamic tailoring, interactivity, and personalization makes that text program more impactful and salient than the unchanging intensity program.


With this study, it is hoped that crucial insights into improved patient adherence via text messaging coupled with web-based smoking cessation programs—all over the world. There are programs available that offer web-based and text messaging for their smoking cessation programs, separately. However, as of this date, no such program offers both web-based and text messaging concurrently. The potential impact of the study is not only isolated within the realm of web-based quit smoking programs, but also with other health behaviors that afflict various therapies.



Graham, A.L. et al. 2016. Optimising text messaging to improve adherence to web-based smoking cessation treatment: a randomised control trial protocol. BMJ Open. [online] Available at: <http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e010687.full>

Petty RE, Cacioppo JT. 1983. Central and peripheral routes to advertising effectiveness: the moderating role of involvement. Journal of Consumer Research. 19. p. 135–46.

Webb TL, Joseph J, Yardley L, et al. 2010. Using the internet to promote health behavior change: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of theoretical basis, use of behavior change techniques, and mode of delivery on efficacy. J Med Internet Res. 12:e4.

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