5 Technologies that are Helping Smokers Quit
Everyone has known for decades that smoking is bad for your health. So bad it claims millions of lives worldwide every year. Just in the United States nearly half a million die each year from tobacco related causes.
It would be a good idea to quit. But quitting is hard. Not only is the nicotine in tobacco physically addictive, but the social, behavioral, and psychological factors make it even harder. What can be done? Well here are some technologies that have been developed to make it a little easier to kick the habit.
Hundreds of apps are now available to help smokers quit. The range is so wide, and new ones enter the market all the time, it would be difficult to do any kind of survey. But here’s some things to think about when you look for an app to assist you:
- Some apps are created and supported by government agencies, health organizations, or non-profits. These are the most likely to be based on scientific research and to have continuing support.
- Apps use a lot of different ways to help you stop smoking. Measuring how much you smoke now, keeping track of how much it is costing and what else you could use the money for, positive reinforcement, and connecting to other devices. Think about what features you would like and which methods you think will be most effective for you.
- Consider an app tailored for your gender, or age, or any other characteristic you think will help it work.
Replacing tobacco with vapor and regulating the amount of nicotine in that vapor is a good way to work with both the physical and behavioral aspects of your addiction. Vaping equipment and e-Cigarettes come in a vast array of sizes, shapes, and styles.
Do some research and look over the selection before you decide on the best vape for you. Simple units can do a good job, but new technologies where the e-cigarette interfaces with your smartphone and can change dosages and report on usage may be more effective.
New treatments using lasers to hit acupuncture sites related to stress and addiction have shown some success already. This is a much more cutting edge application and some smokers may prefer more traditional methods to quit. But if you have tried traditional methods and failed, looking into new technologies just coming out may be a good idea.
Smart Nicotine Patches
Another new twist on an old method is including sensors and a method of giving specific dosages in a nicotine patch. Building a computer into a transdermal patch is tricky, but this would allow users to regulate their dosage based on data gathered in real time from included sensors. The data is passed to a smartphone app which then instructs the patch on how much nicotine to deliver. It can also share this information with the smoker, family or friends who are helping the smoker quit, or even with a central database so it can be combined with others and analyzed to find what treatments work best.
An indirect use of technology is through communication. Support groups for quitting have always been available, but with the internet it is possible to create many more and make them available to everyone no matter where they live.
Forums allow people to open topics and discuss back and forth giving their opinions and experiences. Some have strict organization and others are much more freeform. With so many to choose from you can use the one that fits your taste.
Blogs are more of a communication from one to many, although comment sections make it interactive. Longer articles on people’s story of quitting can be posted to help others. Or tips and tricks articles. Whatever the blogger thinks will benefit the readers.
Social media allows smokers to form groups and connections a bit more chaotically. Joining a group of quitting smokers or ex-smokers can give give you support and encouragement, while making friends with individuals in those groups can let you get a ‘quitting buddy’ where you can support each other.
No matter what method you use to quit, traditional cold-turkey, nicotine patch assisted, hypnosis, group counseling, or a more technological one, either one listed here or some other, remember that quitting is worth it. Scientific studies have shown that no matter when you quit, it can add years to your life.
The statistics on death and disease are frightening, but there are so many other costs as well. Smoking is bad for your general health, costs you money, and makes your clothing smell bad. Sure, that’s not as important as avoiding lung cancer, but if you quit, you get all the benefits. So download an app or start vaping, or choose another way to quit. But quit!