back to article Introducing 'Happy Quit', where Chinese smokers are text-spammed into nicotine abstinence

Distracting and nagging text messages help smokers stop smoking, Chinese researchers have found. In a clinical trial, smokers who agreed to join a cessation programme were divided into three groups. One received a high volume (five a day) of cognitive behavioural therapy-based personalised SMS messages, another a lower volume …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    Finally

    Spamming does something good for the world?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Finally

      It's not spam if you opt in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finally

        @Jake

        From what I am led to believe a lot in China is automatic opt in.

    2. Credas Silver badge

      Re: Finally

      As long as you don't expect TPTB to leave it at that, before moving on to other "undesirable" behaviour...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Finally

        "As long as you don't expect TPTB to leave it at that, before moving on to other 'undesirable' behaviour..."

        ack - and, who knows, maybe California is headed that way as well, very soon... [if Silly Valley has their way]

        it is the nature of gummints to be this way, as "big nanny" types weasel their way into positions of power so they CAN impose themselves on the world. The only thing "them" is "us".

  2. deive

    "Happy Quit" hmm, more like annoy the sh*t out of you until you quit?

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      One presumes the 'Happy' part comes after you have quit and are no longer being annoyed

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        One presumes the 'Happy' part comes after you have quit and are no longer being annoyed

        Along the lines of the question, "why are you banging your head against that wall?"

        Because I'm looking forward to how nice it'll feel once I stop.

    2. MiguelC Silver badge

      If that works I don't see any problem (as long as its voluntary, but this being in China....)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Happy Quit" hmm, more like annoy the sh*t out of you until you quit?

      Better than that. Annoy the shit out of whoever the trolls decide to sign up to the scheme, until they kill themselves or someone else.

    4. Publik_Emily_Numba_1

      Happy slap, happy, quit, etc

  3. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Relax, it's some neat Photoshop work – the baby is not actually smoking"

    So just the doting parent then, fine.

  4. Spazturtle Silver badge

    They could just do the same thing Mao did to get people to ditch opium. Tell them they have a week to quit or you will shoot them and then actually go though with it.

    1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Thanks for that reference (it is not mentioned in all texts on the subject, unsurprisingly).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tell them they have a week to stop farming and start smelting steel instead, and if they don't do it you'll starve them to death...

    3. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      What percentage of those who quit die from the withdrawl?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Zero percent, Bob.

        Quitting isn't fatal. Sometimes it just feels that way ... and some people claim they wish they were dead. Days 3-5 are the worst, from what I've seen.

        1. walatam

          Re: Zero percent, Bob.

          "Quitting isn't fatal"

          As someone who has recently quit (day 48 since last smoke) I can tell you that it has proved near fatal to a few people around me :) Especially the annoying gits who ask, smugly, whether I feel better yet / if everything tastes better etc

      2. sisk Silver badge

        I don't remember nicotine withdrawal even being especially difficult, let alone fatal. Caffeine withdrawal is worse than I remember nicotine withdrawal being. Then again I'm 20 years removed from the experience, so my memories may be somewhat muted.

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge
          Facepalm

          oops

          I meant those quitting opium cold turkey

          My bad...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm in the middle of quitting phones, it's been a struggle but I'm down to one Nokia in the morning.

    1. Augie

      Slightly chewy are they?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Not chewy.

        They blend nicely.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Not chewy.

          Just testing what happens with the new threading when I answer jake, rather than the OP...

        2. Tony Jarvie

          Re: Not chewy.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sbizs-qAwY Although by the looks of the video, there's a fair bit of smoking going on there too!

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Can you get Nokia patches?

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        Gimp

        No but you can get a Palm Palm suppository. £350 a go though so only for the highly addicted.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Picture of Queen Victoria?

      No thanks. I'm trying to give up.

  6. 0laf Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Phones are good mmmkay

    Being phone addicted keeps oyu nice and trackable by the one party state. A win-win for the Chinese government.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Phones are good mmmkay

      I wonder if there is also a cultural component that would not easily translate to other locales.

      Communist Receives Text: Obediently complies

      American Receives Text: Defiantly stubs out cigarette onto the phone screen, curses, squints through burn marks in screen while ordering new phone

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Phones are good mmmkay

        Or in true American style sues the phone company for not supplying a cigarette-resistant screen (demanding new phone and several million for "emotional damage")

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I can see this...

    Eh, having been friends/relatives with over a dozen heavy smokers over the decades, it seems that positive social support of any kind at all is a big help when trying to quit.

    I don't smoke myself, so I don't know personally, but quitting seems to be extremely difficult.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: I can see this...

      quitting seems to be extremely difficult

      Because it is both chemically and psychologically addictive. And maybe that's why the actual success rate of 6.5% is pretty dismal, and the marginal impact of repetitive nagging is only that last 0.5%?

      I'd have thought that if this could be significantly effective it would have be in conjunction with other tools, be that support groups, friends & family, nicotine substitutes.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: I can see this...

        They are doing a study so one thing at a time. Later you try two things that seem to work to see if the effects are additive. If you just try 6 things at once you don't know what works.

  8. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    blasted by texts

    Five a day?

    I'm sure anyone addicted to 2FA gets far more.

  9. jake Silver badge

    "which of the two habits is more antisocial"

    Smoking, by far. I can easily ignore a fone fondler, but the stench of a smoker lingers for days.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: "which of the two habits is more antisocial"

      Besides, the smoke is also harmful to non-smokers. I have never smoked in my life*, being allergic to even small quantities of tobacco smoke (pot is even worse in that respect), so I am spared the difficulty of quitting. I will applaud anyone's effort to stop, however

      * Tobacco, that is. I have smoked duck, chicken, salmon, mackerel and a few other species of fish. Whisky-marinated and cedar-wood-smoked salmon is to die for. Tobacco, by contrast is to die off

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: "which of the two habits is more antisocial"

        I have smoked duck

        I read 'dick'. Shit, I need a holiday.

        1. TimMaher

          Re: "which of the two habits is more antisocial"

          That’s an up vote.

          How did you handle mackerel? Or is that bad too?

  10. Flakk Silver badge
    Trollface

    Relax, it's some neat Photoshop work – the baby is not actually smoking

    Well, obviously. That would be inhuman!

    It's the cigarette in the baby's mouth that is smoking.

  11. tweell
    Flame

    Not much to brag about

    6.5% success rate at 6 weeks? Color me unimpressed, given that nicotine patches, Chantix and such cluster around 25% success at 6 months.

    Fire because, well smoke.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Not much to brag about

      ack - more effective "non government mandate/irritate" methods exist already.

      A lot of people switch to vaping, which every study I've ever read suggests is SIGNIFICANTLY less hazardous to the user, and practically benign to everyone else [unlike smoke, which generally irritates EVERYONE, etc.]. But here in Cali-Fornicate-You, the ninny-nanny types are NOW altering the anti-smoking ads [paid for by deliberately excessive tobacco taxes] to _INCLUDE_ vaping, which I believe is incredibly STUPID...

      so maybe "that" is next. Then it'll be caffeine and alcohol. Well, alcohol has been tried already [and the dramatic failure of U.S. prohibition stands as a testimony to why such things should NOT be passed into law]. And in China, I suppose anti-gummint thoughts will need to be purged, too...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Not much to brag about

        Daft in the extreme

        I easily gave up after twenty plus years of smoking by switching to a vaping product.

        No support groups, texts or regularly posted positive aphorism by Louise L Hay through email or snail mail.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Not much to brag about

          I did the same about three years ago.

          I decided to quit those too and I'm currently in week 9 of 6 in using patches which I'm still having to supplement with lozenges.

          Quitting nicotine is hard. Somebody should have mentioned it.

      2. ICPurvis47
        Megaphone

        Re: Not much to brag about

        Maybe the Yanks should try this, but target gun use/misuse? Knife crime over here would be another suggestion.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not much to brag about

        bombastic bob,

        "... SIGNIFICANTLY less hazardous ..."

        So still hazardous then !!!???

        Therefore should be included in the anti-smoking ads !!!

        In general Vaping was rather too quickly pronounced 'Safe' with much much less testing than smoking ever got.

        Only now are people looking a little more closely at its problems and the 'interesting' testing methodologies used to 'prove' vaping is 'Safe'.

        It was pushed becuase it is 'better' than smoking but this is the same 'better' that applies to ..... it is 'better' to only cut off 1 leg rather than 2 when you know 2 have been working quite well. !!!

        There has even been stories recently of schoolkids drinking the stuff ..... which is a big 'BAD IDEA' if you want to continue living. (Luckily the hospitals treated then quickly and the schools had to broadcast mesages to advise 'Do Not Do This !!!'.

        Apparently, it is now being taken up by US Teens at a high level [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46592521]

        Just swapped one addiction for another .... which was very obvious and the Tobacco Manufacturers are now buying up these firms to get in on the act, plus developing their own similar & new products to get the 'nicotine habit' started.

        Amazing how nicotine products are allowed 'STILL' when the addiction issue is well known !!!???

        Why nicotine but not other addictive substances ???

        1. TheTor

          Re: Not much to brag about

          https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/20/clearing-up-some-myths-around-e-cigarettes/

    2. Steven Raith

      Re: Not much to brag about

      " Color me unimpressed, given that nicotine patches, Chantix and such cluster around 25% success at 6 months."

      Citation please - I understand it to be closer to 7% for patches, and a bit higher with meds, long term.

      Steven R

  12. VikiAi
    Megaphone

    Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

    Especially after 3-5 decades of the tobacco corps. pushing advertising that blatantly says "The West is rich. All Westerners smoke. You want to be rich like Westerners, don't you?"

    On a side note, I've never really understood what was so 'cool' about throwing huge chunks of ones hard-earned-money at big faceless multinational corporations and their government sycophants! If that is 'sticking it to the man' send me a suit and a sex change, please, 'cause I'd be happy to be said 'man'.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

      Remember in the days when smoking was 'cool', cigarettes weren't massively taxed - and so it was a very cheap habit to maintain.

      It was so cool that when my Mum was asked if she smoked by a government survey at school, in about 1952 (she was 14), she said yes. They nearly trapped her with the trick question of what brand, but she remembered Senior Service in time to not get rumbled.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

        I ain't Spartacus,

        They should of caught her out because she did not have a voice like a 'bag of gravel' and a nice cough to go with it !!!

        'Senior Service' cigarettes, from my memory of my parents and their friends smoking, was the real 'Tar/Nicotine addicts' smoke.

        [Most people would not take one when offered .... which was an 'advantage' to the smoker who did ;) ]

        Tended to be smoked by Dockers and the like, from what I was told.

        P.S. Not saying anything against Dockers .... my dad did work there at one time. :)

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

          Oi! Are you sayin' my ole Mum looks like a burly docker? Them's fightin' words!

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

            Didn't the dockers generally 'find' the Senior Service on the quayside just after the ship they'd been loading had sailed?

            Grandad worked in the docks (long ago..) when such accidental events (with easily carried items) were surprisingly common ;) I've heard stories of distillers putting pallets of half bottles at both ends of a shipment due to the 'dock tax' at both ends of the trip.

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UsHHOCH4q8

      Tobacco: Last Week Tonight

      1. VikiAi
        Thumb Up

        Re: Smoking is a very significant issue in many poorer countries.

        Thanks for that link, Tom 35. Hilarious! And angering!

  13. Financegozu

    The whole tobacco industry is owned by the goverment = CCP

    ... and the CCP (china communist party) makes too much money with it to let some health problems get into their way.

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