Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 822–829 | Cite as

Motivating Smoking Cessation Text Messages: Perspectives from Pregnant Smokers

  • Jennifer M. Schindler-RuwischEmail author
  • Leah E. Leavitt
  • Laura E. Macherelli
  • Monique M. Turner
  • Lorien C. Abroms



The purpose of this research is to analyze cessation text-messages written by pregnant smokers to elucidate the target population’s preferred content and message attributes. To achieve this goal, the objectives of this study are three-fold; to qualitatively code messages written by pregnant smokers for frame, type of appeal, and intended target.


Study participants were recruited as part of a larger trial of pregnant smokers who were enrolled in a text-messaging program or control group and surveyed 1 month post-enrollment. Each participant was asked to write a brief message to another pregnant smoker and two independent coders qualitatively analyzed responses.


User generated messages (N = 51) were equally loss and gain framed, and the most common appeals were: fear, guilt, cognitive, hope and empathy, in order of most to least frequent. The target of the majority of the messages was the baby.

Conclusions for Practice

Allowing pregnant smokers to write cessation text-messages for other pregnant women can provide relevant insight into intervention content. Specifically, pregnant smokers appear to equally promote gain and loss frames, but may prefer messages that include components of fear and guilt related to the impact of smoking on their baby. Additional research is needed to systematically uncover perspectives of pregnant smokers to ensure interventions are optimally effective.


Tobacco Cessation Pregnancy mHealth 



This work was partially funded by a Grant from the National Institutes of Health (R15-CA167586).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10995_2018_2452_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Schindler-Ruwisch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Leah E. Leavitt
    • 1
  • Laura E. Macherelli
    • 1
  • Monique M. Turner
    • 1
  • Lorien C. Abroms
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Prevention & Community HealthThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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