In a pilot study, Seattle-based 2Morrow Inc’s SmartQuit app demonstrated efficacy in helping people to quit smoking.
According to the CDC, over half a million deaths per year can be attributed to cigarette smoking. Often, the biggest challenge in getting someone to quit is not the chemical addiction – it is the behavioral addiction. For that reason, smoking cessation may be an area where mobile technology is uniquely positioned to make a significant impact.
With preliminary data in hand, 2Morrow Inc has received a $250,000 grant from the Washington Life Sciences Discovery Fund. Additionally, they have reached an exclusive licensing agreement with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
SmartQuit utilizes “acceptance and commitment therapy” (ACT), which helps people to accept their urges and let them pass.
The app is based on research conducted by Jonathan Bricker, PhD, of the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Bricker has published several studies on smoking cessation and associated cognitive behaviors. Bricker led the first randomized, controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of smoking cessation apps.
“There are more than 400 quit-smoking apps on the market and none of those apps are backed by research that proves they work. We have to do better,” said Bricker. “In a world where many people prefer a do-it-yourself approach, it is becoming increasingly important to test the programs being delivered via these new technologies.”
A unique strength that apps have is that they can be immediately available at that critical moment when a former smoker feels the urge to reach for a cigarette – whether it is in the morning after a cup of coffee, during an afternoon break, after dinner with friends. And given the versatility of the platform and relatively low price point, there will doubtlessly be a number of choices available to help patients find the approach that fits them the best.
2Morrow’s licensing agreement with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will see them use the results of Bricker’s research to create a version of the app that will be brought to market by the end of the year. It shall be targeted at companies, health plans and states. Licensing proceeds shall benefit the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and its programs. SmartQuit is available for free on iTunes.