Can An App Really Help You Quit Smoking?

By now, we all know the harms of cigarette smoking and tobacco consumption. According to the CDC, smoking is the leading avoidable and preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It has been linked to severe health conditions, from common physical illnesses to cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and reproductive problems.

Still, quitting is often easier said than done. Fortunately, a recent study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research highlights a new AI-powered mobile app called Quit Sense, designed to help individuals quit smoking. The app uses emerging technologies like machine learning to collect information on the location, timing, and triggers of past smoking events to create a personalized quitting journey catered to the user’s cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Based on various efficacy tests, participants who used the Quit Sense app had higher success rates (more than four times as many) than those who only received support from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Researchers suggest the app can contribute significantly to the UK government’s initiative for England to be smoke-free by 2030.

Can An App Really Help You Quit Smoking

Of course, while Quit Sense provides a particular social approach to quitting smoking, it’s only one of many cessation apps available for smokers trying to ditch the habit. Below, we’ll take a closer look at quit-smoking apps as well as other practical cessation tools to help smokers:

Quit-smoking apps

As discussed above, many smoking cessation apps are available on the market today — some more effective than others. Some apps are entirely free, like Smoke Free, which uses evidence-based strategies to help ease cessation. Others are free to download, with options for users to pay for premium features, like EasyQuit, which encourages users to journal and log their triggers and smoking activity. There’s also Get Rich or Die Smoking, which is restricted to the Android platform but uses a unique approach to smoking cessation by focusing on how quitting saves money.

These findings from Environmental Research and Public Health indicate that smoking cessation apps obtained abstinence rates ranging from 36% up to 100%, effectively reducing cigarette use among participants. Researchers from the study highlight the promising potential for smoking cessation apps to contribute to a smoke-free society thanks to the increased accessibility and convenient support they provide for smokers who may not have access to face-to-face means of treatment.

The study highlights that over 3.6 billion people today have smartphones, and over 204 billion mobile apps have been downloaded in 2019 worldwide. While cessation apps make up only a fraction of these numbers, this growing amount of data can prove helpful for future researchers and health experts to develop and improve these apps and their effectiveness in reducing smoking rates.

Other cessation tools

Of course, while digital technology can be beneficial and convenient for motivating you to quit smoking, there are also other physical world practices we can try to help navigate the challenges of smoking cessation. Lately, smokeless alternative products have become popular among smokers and quitters as they provide a safer and more discreet way to access nicotine without other harmful cigarette ingredients like tobacco and tar.

Nicotine pouches are one such product and are relatively new on the market. However, as effective as these pouches are, there are still side effects to keep in mind. Some of the side effects of ZYN pouches, one of the more popular pouch brands in the US today, include hiccups, upset stomach, and sore mouth. Note that these effects may occur for some people and not others. Some users may also be sensitive to specific flavors, such as peppermint. In that case, they can opt for numerous other flavors, ranging from citrus to coffee and cinnamon.

Finally, another popular smokeless alternative is nicotine gum. While relatively older than pouches, some brands and startups have recently joined the market, making smoke-free alternatives more accessible to smokers and quitters. Nicotine gums from LUCY only applied for authorization in 2022. The brand has since developed innovative, non-tobacco nicotine products like pouches, gums, and lozenges to help reduce smoking and make cessation more approachable and public-friendly to smokers.

Ultimately, while digital tech like smartphone apps can be helpful for smokers trying to quit, researchers and experts have long recommended combining these cessation methods with practical solutions like smokeless alternatives and cessation aids to boost abstinence rates.

To keep up with upcoming and useful Android and iOS apps, you can check out other posts on TechUntouch.

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