Smoking is a habit that many advocates are trying to eradicate from the system of smokers, especially if these smokers are still in their teens. And when dealing with teens, one way to reach out to them is through the use of technology.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is rolling out a new program aimed at encouraging teenagers to quit smoking. The program includes a website, http://teen.smokefree.gov, as well as texting support; and come January, NCI behavioral scientist Erik Auguston shared, a smart phone application will also be added. All these are efforts towards urging teen smokers to quit early on, before they grow into chronic adult smokers.
University of Michigan researcher Lloyd Johnston, who leads an annual study that tracks smoking, drinking, and drug use among teenagers, shared that 19 percent of teenagers smoke by the 12th grade. He shared further: “From a health viewpoint, (tobacco) is probably the most important of all drugs… There’s no product, legal or illegal, that kills as many people.”
The Smokefree Teen program is hinged upon three things: emphasizing that teens are in charge, in recognition of the fact that teens usually do not appreciate being told what to do; producing materials that focus on teen-specific triggers, such as social life, test anxiety, and peer pressure; and the technologies being used by teens, including providing teens with text support and allowing them to connect to counselors through phone or instant messaging. Teen smokers who would like to quit may also join social network-based support groups on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.