If you are a smoker, chances are you have tried to quit. You know smoking is expensive and detrimental to your health and those around you. However, quitting is difficult and what works for a friend may not work for you. Don’t give up yet! Researchers are developing a wearable proposed to help smokers quit by collecting “big data” and analyzing trends to help improve cessation programs.
A study conducted by Center for Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K) used a wearable, named the puffMarker, which comprised of a wrist and chest sensor. The wrist sensor detects hand motions typical when smoking and the chest sensor detects respiratory patterns typical when smoking. The device was about 85% accurate at detecting relapse smoking among participants trying to quit.
This data will be used to help predict relapse and assess different intervention efforts more accurately. It could also be used to communicate with doctors, cessation support staff, and caregivers, who could then provide better support for individuals trying to quit. Simply wearing the sensors and seeing the data can be motivating for some smokers to abstain too. For example, Tom has tried to quit several times and because he has worn the puffMaker each time, his doctor and family know that he tends to relapse on day 3 or 4 and they can then provide more support during this time. Tom can also reduce environmental triggers that lead to relapse such as avoiding bars or refraining from hanging out with other smokers during the most challenging times of his quit attempt.
This technology is expected to be developed for other addictive behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. More research needs to be done, but once again wearables show promise in helping promote healthy behaviors.
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