Cell Phones offer helping hand to smokers

Ever need a friend to tell you that ''just one'' cigarette is one too many? Swiss smokers trying to quit can now get that advice any time, on the screen of their cellular phone. Smokers who send a one-word text message on their phones will receive a reply within seconds, urging them to resist temptation. The program run by Switzerland’s Bern canton (state) started in January and is already receiving around 400 daily appeals for help from smokers. The program is aimed primarily at young people, who are unlikely to read advice brochures, program coordinator Karin Steinmann is quoted by The Associated Press as saying. ''It's a warning that comes just when it's needed,'' she said. The program has more than 60 messages in German, sent at random to the smoker. ''Divert your thoughts instead of smoking,'' says one. ''Which three people would you most like to be marooned on a desert island with?'' It costs 12 cents to dial the special three-digit number reachable only from within Switzerland - less than a cigarette and much healthier, the program stresses.

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