Researchers in the US have developed a ‘smart necklace’ that tracks smoker habits and could even deliver ‘nudges’ to help them quit.
The necklace, called Smokemon, captures heat signatures from thermal sensors without using visuals, helping to maintain the smoker’s privacy.
Senior investigator Nabil Alshurafa, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said:
“This goes way beyond how many cigarettes a person smokes per day.
“We can detect when the cigarette is being lit, when the person holds it to their mouth and takes a puff, how much they inhale, how much time between puffs and how long they have the cigarette in their mouth.”
These details contribute to what is known as smoking topography.
This information allows scientists to measure and assess harmful carbon monoxide exposure among smokers and understand more deeply the relationship between chemical exposure and tobacco-related diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease.
It can also help people in their efforts to quit smoking by understanding how smoking topography relates to relapse.
The information can be used to predict when a person will relapse and when to intervene with a phone call from a health coach, for example, or even a smartphone text or video message.
The scientists also plan to study the effectiveness of the device in detecting smoking puffs and topography from e-cigarettes.
“We want to catch them before they completely fall off the wagon.
“Once they do, it’s much harder for them to quit again.
“For many people who attempt to quit smoking, a slip is one or two cigarettes or even a single puff.
“But a slip is not the same as a relapse (going back to smoking regularly).
“A person can learn from slips, by gaining awareness that they did not fail, they just had a temporary setback.
“To avoid a relapse, we can then begin to shift their focus on how we handle their triggers and deal with cravings.”