don’t need a crystal ball to make this projection
about the future: Ditching the cigarettes is — and
will likely continue to be — the single most important
thing you can do for your health.
our digital devices will help make it easier, experts
apps are evolving and adapting so quickly that they are
becoming a bit like that voice you wish you had
whispering in your ear, or a helpful hand on your
steering wheel, guiding you clear of smoking
"triggers" long before they have you reaching
for a light.
are only beginning to get a glimpse of the type of
features-rich apps that can be a powerful tool to help
someone stop smoking, said David H. Gustafson, a
professor of industrial engineering and preventive
medicine at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
smartphone app that uses GPS and other personal data
could sound the alarm when someone is moving close to a
familiar haunt that suggests trouble — like a bar
where the beers seem to go hand-in-hand with the smokes.
It might even be able to signal friends and loved ones
who stand ready to intervene, he said. Or it could
trigger a recording of a daughter’s voice saying,
"Daddy, please don’t do that. Come home."
might reek of Big Brother to some, but it could be
embraced by cigarette addicts who are willing to do
anything to quit, he said.
point is to reach out to the person, see how they’re
doing, remind them of key kinds of things that will be
beneficial to them if they stop smoking, and (smartphone
capabilities) are changing all the time," Gustafson
are plenty of smoking-cessation apps and websites on the
market. And even though they might not come with a
GPS-triggered phone call to your spouse, they will
create a sense of support that will help some people
turn away from cigarettes.
you have to do is keep searching until you find an
approach that resonates with you, experts say.
you be willing to try guided meditation when the urge
strikes? There’s an app that can help with that. Are
you a tad competitive? There are apps that
"dare" you to quit and stack up your progress
against other users. Or how about an app that boosts
your self-esteem, cheering you on each time you wrestle
an urge into submission? If you’re motivated by money,
plenty of apps will allow you to see how much green you’re
saving. Others frighten you with an in-your-face look at
the health risks.
line: Don’t stop until you find the right app or
online community, Gustafson said.
if you’re thinking "why bother" because
nothing has worked before, then know this: The strongest
predictor of future success just might be your stunning
number of failures, said Stanton Glantz, professor of
medicine at UC San Francisco and head of the school’s
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
sounds counterintuitive," Glantz said, "but
just the number of attempts is a strong indicator of