While smoking rates have declined significantly over recent years, there are still far too many people smoking. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of smoking cessation apps come to market to help patients trying to quit. Some have even been tested in clinical trials, like the SmartQuit app.

QuitGuide is a free smoking cessation app from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that aims to support patients who are trying to quit smoking.

On opening the QuitGuide app, users are prompted to enter some basic information about their quit plan such as their quit date. Notably, the app doesn’t ask for personal information like name or date of birth. There is an option to share their intent to quit smoking on Facebook, something I would generally encourage patients to consider given how helpful social support can be in this difficult process.

Another particularly nice feature is the personal message on why the user wants to quit smoking. That message, whether it’s to see a child graduate from high school or spend time with grandkids, is front and center every time the user opens the app going forward. They can also load a picture so that every time they open the QuitGuide app they also see a visual reminder, say of their families, of why they want to quit smoking.

On the main screen of the QuitGuide app, users can track whether they were smoke free or slipped, as well as when they have a craving or particular moods that may drive them to smoke. That information can be really useful in follow up visits with their doctors to refine quit plans and reinforce incremental successes.

Opening the menu by tapping the menu icon on the upper left, users can access several additional useful features. The two that users may find particularly valuable are time and location based messages from the QuitGuide app. These can be set up to deliver motivational messages about smoking cessation at the times and places where the user is most likely to smoke.

There is also some useful reference information on how to quit smoking. This covers a lot of useful information like how to prepare to quit smoking as well as tips on managing cravings. While the rest of the QuitGuide app is generally very well designed, the valuable information contained in this section seems too hidden. The app could definitely improve the presentation of educational content in a more readable and engaging format.

QuitGuide app 7

Overall, the QuitGuide app generally based on practice recommendations for smoking cessation from the Tobacco Control Research Branch though, unlike some other smoking cessation apps like SmartQuit, it has not been tested specifically in clinical studies. That said, unlike the SmartQuit app, the QuitGuide app is free for everyone whereas SmartQuit is fairly expensive for most people.

In terms of recommending this app, it’s worth noting that the QuitGuide app is actively supported with frequent updates. The QuitGuide app privacy policy also notes that they will not share any personal information without user consent or unless required by law.

  • Price
    • Free
    • Ability to enter a reason for quitting with a picture that is front and center with ongoing app use
    • Ability to track smoking and cravings to help refine quit plans in follow up doctor visits
    • Location and time based motivational messaging for delivery at key moments when users need support
    • Social media integration (optional) to help engage family and friends
    • Quality of educational material on smoking cessation
  • Dislikes
    • Educational material should be presented more effectively
  • Overall

    The QuitGuide app is a free smoking cessation app from a reputable organization, the National Cancer Institute, that employs a number of different strategies to deliver ongoing support for patients who are trying to quit smoking. Given the app is free, collects minimal identifiable information, and has a clear privacy policy, it’s definitely worth recommending to patients who are trying to quit smoking.

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  • User Interface
  • Multimedia Usage
  • Price
  • Real World Applicability
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