Is quitting smoking on your New Year’s resolution list? Or that of a friend or family member?
If so, consider the SmartQuit app.
But first I’ll tell you what I do and don’t like about it.
I like that it seems to be pretty effective. The SmartQuit program and app were developed by researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington (my alma mater!), with funding from the National Cancer Institute.
It uses a particular type of behavior modification—acceptance and commitment therapy—that has proven more effective than other smoking cessation apps.
The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that 21 percent of participants who used the SmartQuit app were able to stop smoking completely, and 75 percent were able to decrease the amount they smoked.
For comparison, most online smoking cessation apps have quit rates from 8 to 10 percent.
Nicotine gum, nicotine patches and the drug Chantix are other ways to quit smoking. But I believe a program that uses behavior-modification therapy rather than drugs will have a better long-term result.
Quitting smoking saves money
I also like that the developers, 2Morrow, are targeting state public health departments, health insurers and employers so the SmartQuit program can be offered free of charge to anyone who wants to quit smoking.
At this time the full program costs $50.00.
That’s much cheaper than the aforementioned nicotine patches and prescription Chantix. Chantix costs about $350/month and no generic will be available until at least 2020. I hope insurance companies see that paying for an app like SmartQuit could save them money in the long run.
Treating lung cancer, chronic lung disease and all the other consequences of smoking is also costly at the state (Medicaid) and federal (Medicare) level. A small investment in an effective and easy-to-use app like SmartQuit could save billions in healthcare costs.
SmartQuit is free to some
Because the program was developed in my home state, Washington, it is currently the only state that offers SmartQuit to anyone free of charge.
Louisiana offers the program to pregnant women and members of their households.
The app’s website encourages anyone who is interested in the program to contact their own state’s public health department. It also offers information for employers who might want to consider SmartQuit as part of an employee wellness program.
You actually download the free version, SmartQuit “Lite”. The full 6-month program is a $50 in-app purchase.
I just wish they were more clear about cost so consumers don’t feel they are victims of bait-and-switch tactics.
Fifty dollars is a reasonable cost for an effective smoking cessation program, after all, so why be deceptive?
Anyway, if quitting smoking is on your resolution list for this year, best of luck!