Steps in tailoring a text messaging-based smoking cessation program for young adults

Research Project: Stop My Smoking (SMS USA)

Ybarra ML, Prescott TL, Holtrop JS. Steps in tailoring a text messaging-based smoking cessation program for young adults. J Health Commun. 2014;19(12):1393-1407. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2014.901441

Steps to develop or refine text messaging-based interventions are largely missing from the literature. Here, the authors describe steps in refining Stop My Smoking USA, a text messaging-based smoking cessation program for smokers 18-25 years old. Research activities included the following: needs assessment focus groups (n = 35); a content advisory team to affirm message acceptability (n = 10); and two beta tests to confirm technological feasibility (n = 12 and 28, respectively). Various recruitment strategies were tested to identify the optimal methods to reach young adult smokers ready to quit. Each stage of the refinement process yielded new insights, resulting in improved message content and tone, an effective recruitment strategy, and the identification and subsequent resolution of technology challenges. Findings suggest that young adults prefer messages that provide concrete behavioral strategies to overcome cravings, and which are positive in tone. Craigslist was the most efficient recruitment method and yielded a sample that was racially and economically diverse. Despite a successful beta test of initial technological feasibility, extensive problems were subsequently experienced in a beta test of the technological feasibility of the entire program. Iterative program refinement and adaptation on the basis of user input is necessary to ensure salience, while extensive field testing is required to ensure proper functioning of technology-based programs.

PubMed ID: 24766267

View Accepted Manuscript Here (link will open in a new tab)
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives on 25 Apr 2014, available online: