Milken Institute SPH Research Helped Develop New Text Messaging Program for Pregnant Moms

With the help of research conducted at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently unveiled a text-messaging program aimed at getting pregnant women to quit smoking. SmokefreeMOM is a text messaging initiative based on a similar program developed by Lorien Abroms, ScD, MA, an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH.

Abroms, along with Judy Mendel Van Alstyne, a senior research associate who received an MPH in 2013, and Leah Leavitt, a graduate assistant and current MPH student, conducted interviews with pregnant women who smoked. Insights gleaned from that research, which was funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, were used to develop a text messaging program targeted to pregnant women. Like other text-messaging programs targeting smokers, this program sends advice on how to quit smoking. Text messages include tips on how to resist cravings, notes of encouragement to stick to a quit date, and additional motivations and information related to having a healthy pregnancy.

SmokefreeMOM is part of a broader initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to encourage women to take proactive steps to prevent chronic diseases, such as those caused by tobacco products. According to HHS, smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions and also harms a developing fetus.

Other work by Abroms led to the creation of an interactive mobile-based text messaging program for smokers called Text2Quit, which is now used by over 75,000 quitline callers.

Read more about the research that led to the creation of Text2Quit in GW Today.

Find out about SmokefreeMom