Is it possible for a mobile app to help you quit smoking?
Having researched and trying out almost all ‘quit smoking’ apps, I could not find a single app that motivates one enough to quit. What do you think, can an addicted smoker quit smoking simply by using a mobile app?
There are various quit smoking apps like Quit It Lite – stop smoking now, Quit Smoking, My Last Cigarette – Stop Smoking Stay Quit, tweetsmoking, Butt Out and lot more. But are these apps effective and solving the real problem.
In fact if you can quit smoking, nothing else will be more beneficial for your health and quality of life.
What I have been told by my friends who smoke is that these apps are just waste of time for them! It’s not easy to quit smoking. It depends on the demand and supply as well. If you need to smoke and cigarette is available you will smoke and not open the app and try ways to quit smoking!! That’s human psychology.
Every app I downloaded for quit smoking is almost similar. Features like tracking, budgeting, quitting plans, progress, inspirational quotes along with some gamifications are not going to solve the problem! For e.g. If a smoker is about to light a cigarette, will he light it or go for a mobile app to note that he is going to smoke one! Humans prefer the later because they can’t resist the temptation. They will think that they can update it later, first lets smoke it out!
Why does the current solution do not work?
There is a huge demand for such apps. Both Google playstore and Apple istore are getting thousand searches for quit smoking apps and almost nearly 10 lakhs have downloaded similar apps from both these platforms together. Why does the current solution do not work, is the question to be answered. No solution is solving the real problem. You need to crack the human brain here and that is not an easy job to do. You cannot scarce the supply of cigarettes through a mobile app. But you can convert their attention. Displaying inspirational messages, tracking progress wont work. Nobody is taking the pain to actually fill those while smoking.
Why do we smoke?
- Smoking is fun. Most of us smoke for fun to show ourselves comfortable with in the friends circle.
- Most of them smoke when they are tensed.
- Some smoke after finishing a tedious task to get relieved.
- Some smoke for erotic sensitivity.
- Memories of their college days might make them to smoke.
- Some are afraid to be alone. Smoking will bring a companion!
- Some believes that smoking relieves me, help me to get ideas etc.
I don’t think any of the apps out there solves these problems.
What features do we need, to help people quit smoking ?
1. Educate yourself
First we need to educate ourselves the cons of smoking. We need to read a lot. Read as many articles as you can to get an understanding of the ill effects of smoking.
Many are afraid of the “Fear” factor. We need to trap this factor and get on to their stimulus. People are afraid if something happens to their new-born child or they are more concerned about their family. You need to feed them with messages of fear so that they are reminded of the consequences constantly.. I will suggest to use Images more than words. Images stays in our brain more than words. Provide image notifications to remind them of the consequences of smoking. This will create a fear with in their minds.
2. Eliminate the triggers
Eliminate the triggers which is the prime cause for smoking. Say if you are tensed, ask them to play something or divert their minds on some games or something which is of interest to them. Get their interests feedback while registering on the app. If something interesting pops up when you want to smoke, you cannot ignore the one which is interesting for you. Smoking becomes the second priority then. The app needs to capitalize on this nature of human beings.
Social support is good for any cause. Ask them to invite friends who have quit smoking in the past to get their help. Helping and sharing is much helpful than any other methods. People go to counselling centers for quitting smoking. Counsel them through the app. Make those offline efforts to online. Gamify the social support. Tell them that 85% of your friends wants you to quit smoking. This will motivate them along with a picture of their family or their interest area. Ask them about their dream while registration. Each cigarette will help them to achieve their dream. This achievement can be represented to the smokers through some games so that there is a self-realization of achieving their dream.
4. Maintain the gain
If you are ditching out a bad habit, you need to gain something good out of it. Help them to rediscover their passions. Ask them to exercise, may be a little walk will relive them from the pressures. Feed them with good health tips not alone for them but their family as well. Ask them to play any sport, take part in a marathon etc. Human ego is more powerful than any other methods. If any of your friends have gained valuable, the inner conscious mind of yours will feel bad at least once or you would also love to feel the same gain.
Remember it’s not easy to quit smoking, but if we enforce them or feed them fear, they are chances that they quit.
These apps should have a notification which reminds them at regular intervals. Smokers usually smoke early morning or after having food or when they are tensed, so set reminders/notifications at these times to remind themselves.
Can a mobile app even do this ?
Yes. The number of downloads from appstore is a fact. It’s only that there is no effective way to solve it. If you can hit their pain points, then its sustainable.
Better start with a survey of smokers to know the exact reasons like why they smoke, what prompts them to smoke, have they ever tried to quit smoking if so why did they failed in that attempt, what times of the day they smoke etc.
Let me know your feedback’s on this topic.