What if the tools to quit smoking were easier to find than cigarettes?
Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of smartphones—more U.S. adults have them in their pockets than cigarettes—the National Cancer Institute (NCI) developed QuitPal, a mobile app to help people quit smoking.
The free app provides tools to help those who want to be smoke-free with research-based strategies, including:
- A calendar function to set quit dates, track financial goals, and schedule reminders
- A log to track daily smoking habits
- Graphic features showing money saved and packs of cigarettes not smoked
- Health milestone alerts and craving tips to keep users motivated
- Facebook and Twitter integration to update friends when goals are reached
- Video diary features and the ability to receive personalized video messages from loved ones
- Access to NCI’s Cancer Information Service by toll-free phone line or live Web chat
Because most mobile applications designed to help smokers quit are not based on research, they often lack the information needed to be successful. To address this gap, NCI conducted three rounds of research with smokers to guide the development of QuitPal.
To begin, NCI met with focus groups of current smartphone users to learn how participants select the health-related apps they use. Researchers also asked the participants why they use some apps and delete others.
In a second round of testing, NCI shared design mock-ups of the app with adult smokers with smartphones. Researchers gauged the participants’ reactions to the mock-ups and asked how important the participants felt current features were.
In the third and final round of testing, the app was field tested to confirm the stability of the code. During this time the app was beta-tested with adult smokers. User feedback was then incorporated before the public launch.
NCI’s research shows that behavior intervention reinforces positive health change and can help smokers quit. Based on this research, QuitPal offers specific information to keep smokers busy during cravings and tips to stay away from temptations.
Visit SmokeFree.gov to download the app or search “QuitPal” in the iTunes App Store. It is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
See a list of HHS mobile apps to support a healthy body and mind.