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Smartphone apps lack proven strategies to help smokers quit
Date:11/19/2013

WASHINGTON, DC (November 19, 2013)An estimated 11 million smokers in the United States own a smartphone and increasingly they're turning to apps in an attempt to quit. But many of the most popular anti-smoking apps for iPhones or Androids lack some basic strategies that are known to help smokers quit, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Quit-smoking apps are an increasingly available tool for smokers," says lead author Lorien Abroms, ScD, an associate professor of Prevention and Community Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). "Yet our study suggests these apps have a long way to go to comply with practices that we know can help people stub out that last cigarette."

Abroms, J. Lee Westmaas, PhD at the American Cancer Society, and others on the team collected data on quit-smoking apps for the iPhone and Android, the two leading smartphone operating systems.

They found apps for smartphones were in high demand around the world, with more than 700,000 such apps downloaded every month for Android phones alone. The popularity of such apps may speak to the high level of desire smokers have to quit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all smokers tried to quit in 2010, the most recent year that statistics were available.

The researchers identified 414 quit-smoking apps for iPhones and Androids and then zeroed in on 50 of the most popular ones from each operating system. The team analyzed each app's approach to smoking cessation, including their adherence to guidelines established by the U.S. Public Health Service on treating tobacco use. The guidelines review decades of scientific studies and offer recommendations on the most effective ways to beat a tobacco habit.

Overall, the study found that the most popular apps were not giving smokers the best treatment optionsat least f
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
Source:Eurekalert  

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