Tobacco Use: Mobile Phone Text Messaging Cessation Interventions

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This is a brief summary of the CPSTF finding and systematic review evidence for Tobacco Use: Mobile Phone Text Messaging Cessation Interventions. Read a complete summary of the systematic review and CPSTF Finding and access a list of suggested guidelines and toolkits.

This information is also availble in a PDF version.

Summary of Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends mobile phone text messaging interventions for tobacco smoking cessation to increase the number of adults who successfully quit.

Major Findings

The CPSTF recommendation is based on a subset of evidence from 17 studies included in a 2019 systematic review that measured outcomes six or more months following intervention.1 A man looks at a smartphone.

  • Smoking cessation rates increased by a median of 4.1 percentage points overall (17 studies).
  • Cessation rates increased when interventions were implemented alone (median increase of 2.3 percentage points; 7 studies) or in combination with additional smoking cessation support interventions, such as counseling, internet-based interventions, and nicotine replacement therapy (median increase of 4.4 percentage points; 10 studies).
  • Effective interventions provided tailored content, interactive features, or both.

What are Mobile Phone Text Messaging Interventions for Tobacco Smoking Cessation?

Mobile phone text messaging interventions deliver evidence-based information, quit strategies, and behavioral support directly to people who want to quit smoking or using tobacco. Automated text messages support quit attempts and may be one or more of the following:

  • Tailored for individuals based on computer algorithms
  • Interactive and capable of providing on-demand text responses or behavioral support
  • Developed or adapted for specific populations and communities

Mobile phone text messaging interventions may be provided in combination with other interventions (e.g., internet-based cessation services), or offered with FDA-approved smoking cessation medications.

Why is This Important?

  • Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.2
  • Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.2
  • Smoking cessation reduces the risk for serious health conditions, including 12 different types of cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and reproductive health problems.2

Learn More


1 Whittaker R, McRobbie H, Bullen C, Rodgers A, Gu Y, Dobson R. Mobile phone text messaging and app-based interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD006611. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006611.pub5.

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2020.

Established in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) is an independent, nonfederal panel of public health and prevention experts whose members are appointed by the director of CDC. CPSTF provides information for a wide range of decision makers on programs, services, and other interventions aimed at improving population health. Although CDC provides administrative, scientific, and technical support for CPSTF, the recommendations developed are those of CPSTF and do not undergo review or approval by CDC. Find more information at