New approach to helping smokers butt out

THE University of Tasmania is working on a modern-day approach to help smokers quit.

A new smoking cessation app called Quittr is being trialled by UTAS with the support of the Heart Foundation.

Available for free on the Google Play and iTunes stores, Quittr is aimed at providing a fun way to quit smoking and includes behavioural support content, personalised statistics, an achievements system, and games that reward the smoker for engaging and persisting with their quit attempt.

Quittr users will also be enrolled in a pilot study, which will provide valuable data to determine how effective the app is at helping smokers to quit.

Chief investigator Dr Ivan Bindoff said the app was aimed at keeping smokers engaged in their attempt to quit for the long haul.

"We know that smoking cessation apps can be effective, but it's really hard to keep smokers engaged beyond the first few days," Dr Bindoff said.

"Quittr makes use of techniques from the games industry to try to improve in this area.

"Our goal was to make the process feel genuinely rewarding, right from the start."

 

Dr Ivan Bindoff.
Dr Ivan Bindoff.

The outcomes of the pilot study will be published in scientific journals and presented at conferences relating to games and smoking cessation.

With an average of around 500 Tasmanians dying from tobacco use in Tasmania each year, Heart Foundation Tasmania CEO Graeme Lynch said the new app had the potential to save lives.

"Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease, and a prominent cause of premature and preventable death in Tasmania," he said.

"This app provides us with a potentially powerful new approach to fighting the problem."

To find out more and download the app visit pharm.utas.edu.au



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