Text2Connect: A health system approach to engage tobacco users in quitline cessation services via text messaging

Paul Krebs, Scott E. Sherman, Hannah Wilson, Omar El-Shahawy, Lorien L. Abroms, Xiaoquan Zhao, Shadi Nahvi, Donna Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mobile technology has created the opportunity for health systems to provide low cost tobacco cessation assistance to patients. The goal of the present study was to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of an intervention (Text2Connect) that uses text messages to offer proactive connection to the New York State Smokers' Quitline. The electronic health record at two urban health systems was queried for patients who were current smokers and who had an outpatient visit between March 2015 and February 2016. Smokers (N = 4000) were sent an informational letter. Those who did not opt out (N = 3719) were randomized to one of 6 message sequences in order to examine the effect of theoretically informed message frames on response rates. Participants were sent a series of text messages at baseline and at 1 month and were asked to reply in order to be contacted by the state quitline (QL). After removing 1403 nonworking numbers, texts were sent to 2316 patients, and 10.0% (205/2060) responded with a QL request. Almost one quarter (23.6%, 486/2060) replied STOP and 66.4% (1369/2060) never responded. QL request rates were significantly higher when response efficacy messages were not used (p <. 001). There were no differences by message framing on STOP requests (p >. 05). The Text2Connect intervention was well accepted with a minority opting out. A 10% QL response rate is noteworthy given that only 5-7 brief outreach text messages were used. Results indicate that simple self-efficacy-focused messaging is most effective at supporting response rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2018


  • mHealth
  • population health
  • quitline
  • text messaging
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Text2Connect: A health system approach to engage tobacco users in quitline cessation services via text messaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this