A Randomized Trial of Text Messaging for Smoking Cessation in Pregnant Women

Published:October 02, 2017DOI:


      There is a need for innovation in both the enrollment of pregnant smokers in smoking cessation treatment programs and in the types of treatments offered. The study tests whether an interactive and intensive text messaging program, Quit4baby, can promote smoking cessation for pregnant women already enrolled in a health text messaging program, Text4baby.


      Between July 2015 and February 2016, a total of 35,957 recruitment text messages were sent to Text4baby subscribers. Eligible pregnant smokers were enrolled and randomized to receive Text4baby (control) or Text4baby and Quit4baby (intervention; N=497). Participants were surveyed at 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months post-enrollment, and saliva samples were collected at 3 months for biochemical verification of smoking status. Data were collected from 2015 to 2016 and analyzed in 2016.


      Using an intention-to-treat analysis, 28.80% of the intervention group and 15.79% of the control group reported not smoking in the past 7 days at 1 month (p<0.01), and 35.20% of the intervention group and 22.67% of the control group reported not smoking in the past 7 days at 3 months (p<0.01). Biochemical verification of smoking status at 3 months indicated no significant differences between groups (15.60% in the intervention group and 10.93% in the control group [p=0.13]), although significant differences favoring the intervention were found for older smokers (p<0.05) and for those who enrolled in their second or third trimester of pregnancy (p<0.05). Self-report of late pregnancy 7- and 30-day point prevalence abstinence favored the intervention group (p<0.001, p<0.01). No significant differences were observed at the 6-month follow-up or in the postpartum period.


      Results provide limited support of the efficacy of the Quit4baby text messaging program in the short term and late in pregnancy, but not in the postpartum period.
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