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Text messaging (SMS) campaign have been identified as one of the strategies that can be used to tackle the prevalence of cigarette smoking. According to Haug smoking is a major problem among adolescents who are easily influenced to take up this harmful habit (51). Young people are among the largest users of electronic communication including SMS. More and more young people own and own a mobile phone; in Switzerland is estimated 98% of youths between the ages of 12-19 own a mobile phone (Haug, 51). This ownership trend is reflected in majority of countries across the world. With this large number of teenagers owning mobile phones an SMS based intervention to assist them quit smoking would reach a large number of affected teenagers. Where these text messages can be tailored to an individual teenage smoker it will be more effective in encouraging the young smoker cease smoking. According to Haug, an SMS based smoking cessation intervention among teenagers is a cost-effective tactic to reduce smoking even among young adults with lower educational achievement (15). It is a wonder that smoking intervention programs have not widely applied SMS based intervention to arrest adolescent smoking before its turn into a fatal habit.

Another method that can be used alongside SMS intervention is health education intervention which sensitizes young people about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Smoking initiation has been reduced in Hong Kong and Italy by educating youths about the dangers of involving themselves in this harmful habit (Salaudeen et al, 7). Health education ensures that young people are aware of additional hazards of smoking that people are not commonly aware off including dermatological changes. Health intervention education also helps the formation of attitudes supportive to other methods of reducing smoking prevalence including smoking bans. According to Salaudeen et al smokers who have undergone this intervention are more likely to cease smoking (7).

Plain packaging of cigarettes is one of the approaches adopted by many countries to tackle smoking prevalence. The plain packaging strategy is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In countries that have ratified the treaty cigarette packaging must: a). Bear health warnings of associated smoking hazards, b). Have a description of harmful effects of smoking, c). Occupy more than 30 per cent of the packaging surface, d). Be Visible and Legible in the local language, e). Have multiple messages, f). Use pictures to show the harmful effects of smoking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the new packaging strategy has assisted 25 per cent of smokers in 14 countries notice the harmful effects of smoking and consider quitting smoking.

An increase in the amount of tax on tobacco products is one of the most widely applied interventions to tackle the prevalence of smoking. According to Martire et al higher taxes on cigarettes have been credited with a 1.89 and 7.84 per cent decrease on smoking prevalence in the United States and Australia respectively (622). However, these decreases in smoking prevalence are limited to low-income smokers showing its effectiveness on high-income smokers.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Package Health Warnings and Interest in Quitting Smoking —14 Countries, 2008–2010 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 60 (2011): 20

Haug, Severin, et al. «Efficacy of a text messaging (SMS) based smoking cessation intervention for adolescents and young adults: Study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial.» BMC public health 12.1 (2012): 51.

Martire, Kristy A., Richard P. Mattick, Christopher M. Doran, and Wayne D. Hall. «Cigarette tax and public health: what are the implications of financially stressed smokers for the effects of price increases on smoking prevalence?.» Addiction 106, no. 3 (2011): 622-630.

Salaudeen, Adekunle, Omotosho Musa, Tanimola Akande, and Oladimeji Bolarinwa. «Effects of health education on cigarette smoking habits of young adults in tertiary institutions in a northern Nigerian state.» education 6 (2011): 7.