Background: Physician-led smoking cessation services are suboptimal in Nigeria. Objectives: This study evaluated a text messaging intervention designed to increase the knowledge and practices of physicians in Nigeria to help smokers quit. Methods: Using a pre-post study design, all physicians (N = 946) in 3 tertiary care hospitals located in 3 geopolitical zones in Nigeria were sent 2–3 text messages weekly over a 13-week period to create awareness and improve cessation practices using the “Ask, Advise and Refer” (AAR) model. The primary outcomes were the awareness of AAR and the proportion of physicians who offered each of the components of the brief intervention (AAR) to at least half of eligible patients. Secondary outcomes included the attitudes and self-reported effects of the messages on motivation to offer AAR to patients who smoke. Results: Of the 946 eligible respondents, only 165 responded to both the before and after intervention surveys (17.4% participation rate). Participants were more likely to indicate awareness of the AAR approach after the intervention (60%) than before (21.2%). Overall, physicians’ practice of each component of the AAR changed significantly after the intervention (P <.001; McNemar test). Of the participants, 71.5% reported reading the messages most/all of the time and 84.8% reported that the frequency of the messages was just adequate. Conclusions: A brief and low-cost text messaging intervention to physicians increased the awareness and practice of AAR in those who participated in the study. However, the relatively low participation rate highlights the importance of new research to improve and expand text messaging as an intervention among physicians to help them foster tobacco treatment among their patients.
- text messages
- tobacco cessation