Latino Smokers Invited to Participate in Clinical Trial of Text Messages to Support Smoking Cessation

October 9, 2019

John Theurer Cancer Center clinical trial is largest federally funded study evaluating this technology

Researchers at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center are recruiting Latino smokers to participate in a study evaluating the addition of daily text message support to smoking cessation using nicotine replacement therapies. Called Decidetext, it is the only clinical trial evaluating this technology which is funded by the National Cancer Institute. Latino smokers who want to quit and are interested in this study can call 551-996-4242 or email

“Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, family and community. Through this study, we aim to help Latino smokers to quit, one text at a time,” said Paula Cupertino, PhD, Director, Latino Cancer Disparities Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, who is directing the study at John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack and at Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center.

There is a large Hispanic community in the Hackensack University Medical Center area. A pilot study led by Dr. Cupertino showed that Latino smokers interacted more with smoking cessation text messages than with printed educational literature.

“We’ve learned that a combination of medical therapies, like nicotine replacement, with behavioral interventions is most effective for smoking cessation,” said Dr. Cupertino. “Participants who received text messages in the pilot study also told us they felt better cared for and were more engaged.”

The promising results of that smaller study led to the current larger initiative, which is seeking to recruit more than 600 individuals.

The six-month study is comparing two approaches to smoking cessation. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups:

  • Free nicotine replacement therapy (patches or gum), educational materials about smoking cessation and daily text messages to support participants.
  • Free nicotine replacement therapy and educational materials without text messaging.

Who Is Eligible?

To enroll in this study, participants must:

  • Be Latino/Hispanic
  • Smoke at least three days a week
  • Be age 21 or older
  • Have a phone with unlimited texting
  • Know how to send and receive text messages

What Is Involved

Participants agree to attend two in-person visits at the beginning and end of the study and complete at least one phone call during the study. Those in the texting group will receive information and support via text messages that vary in frequency depending on which phase of the study they are in. For example, more texts are sent at the beginning of the study and during the two weeks after the person’s quit date, when the risk of relapse is greatest. Participants can send texts back to seek support, ask questions or check in with the study coordinators, who respond within 24 hours.


As compensation for their time and contribution to the research, participants will receive $30 at the first in-person visit, $20 after the phone call and $50 at the second in-person visit. Those who are selected to complete a survey for chemical exposure from personal care and cleaning products will receive an additional $20. Participants will receive these payments in the form of a prepaid card, regardless of whether or not they quit smoking.

“Through this study, science is happening right here in our community, and it will change the future of our community for the better,” added Dr. Cupertino.

To learn more about the study, please visit: