Aims: To determine whether a smoking cessation service using mobile phone text messaging is as effective for Maori as non-Maori.
Methods: A single-blind randomised controlled trial was undertaken with recruitment targeted to maximise the participation of young Maori. The intervention included regular, personalised text messages providing smoking cessation advice, support, and distraction. Maori text messages related to Maori language, support messages (in Maori and English) and information on Maori traditions. Text messaging was free for 1 month. After 6 weeks, the number of messages reduced from 5 per day to 3 per week until the 26-week follow-up.
Results: Participants included 355 Maori and 1350 non-Maori. Maori in the intervention group were more likely to report quitting (no smoking in the past week) at 6 weeks (26.1%) than those in the control group (11.2%) RR 2.34, 95% CI: 1.44-3.79. There was no significant difference between the RR for Maori and that for non-Maori (RR: 2.16, 95%CI: 1.72-2.71).
Conclusions: A mobile phone-based cessation programme was successful in recruiting young Maori, and was shown to be as effective for Maori as non-Maori at increasing short-term self-reported quit rates. This shows clear potential as a new public health initiative.