Smoking Cessation Phone Tools for Teens

Because a cell phone is likely one thing a teenage smoker will pick up more often than a cigarette, the National Cancer Institute’s Smokefree Teen program offers SmokefreeTXT, a free mobile tool to help teens stop smoking.

“With 75 percent of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 owning a cell phone, there is immense potential for mobile technologies to affect health awareness and behavior change among teens," said Erik Augustson, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist in the NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch.

SmokefreeTXT is a free mobile service designed for young adults that provides round-the-clock encouragement, advice and tips to help teens stop smoking for good. Teens can text the word QUIT to IQUIT (47848) from their mobile phone, answer a few questions and start receiving messages. Signups can also be initiated online at "", where participants can click on the button to answer a few questions and then start receiving texts.

Once they sign up, teens receive text messages timed according to their selected quit date. Following their quit date, they will continue receiving texts for up to six weeks. According to the NCI, the follow up texts are a critical piece of the SmokefreeTXT service, because research shows that cessation support continues to be important beyond the first few weeks of quitting.

Not only will subscribers receive texts, they can ask for extra support whenever they are feeling shaky. Teens who are having a bad craving and need a reminder of why they shouldn’t pick up a cigarette can text the word WANT to IQUIT (47848) and receive an encouraging response. Those who are having a rough day and need a positive message can text BOOST to IQUIT. After a slip up, a subscriber can get extra encouragement to keep on going by texting UHOH to IQUIT. And, participants who want to opt out of the program just need to text STOP to IQUIT.

The NCI’s Smokefree Teen program has also launched two free smartphone apps through the iTunes App Store.

QuitSTART helps teens track cravings and moods, monitor progress toward achieving smokefree milestones, identify smoking triggers and upload personalized pick-me-ups and reminders to help stay smokefree.

The WordWeather App is a word game that allows users to race against the clock to spell words using falling letter raindrops. Flying hail bombers, snowflakes that help slow down the game and raindrop bonus points make the game a challenging adventure. Log on to "" for links to download the apps. (Square)

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Oral Care Occurrences for TEENS

As teens continue to grow, they’re faced with certain dental issues, such as getting braces or having their wisdom teeth removed. Many of these procedures are a normal part of life, while others are proactive steps dentists take to help ensure a lifetime of oral health.

Here are some good topics to discuss with your teen:

  • Bad breath causes – bad breath, or halitosis, usually comes from bacteria that form on the tongue. In many cases, a simple change in your teen’s personal oral hygiene habits can freshen him up, starting with good oral hygiene, brush the tongue and keep regular visits to your dentist.

  • Whitening options – whitening those pearly whites can be done with whitening toothpastes, mouth rinses and toothbrushes. The dentist also offers whitening treatment options that are done in the dental office and at home.

  • Tobacco use – tobacco products contain toxins that can cause various types of cancer, gum disease, bad breath, tooth discoloration and a diminished sense of smell. It’s easier to kick a smoking habit earlier rather than later.

  • Oral piercings – oral piercings can have adverse affects on the health of your tongue, lips, cheeks and uvula. Oral problems associated with swallowed/aspirated jewelry, speech impairment, fractured teeth and gingival recession can occur.