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QT-Watch (TM)

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The Medical Science Behind The QT-Watch

Despite 36 years of Surgeon General warnings on the dangers of smoking, 23.3% of adults in the United States still smoke tobacco. An estimated 430,700 Americans die each year from diseases caused by smoking. Moreover, smoking costs the U.S. at least $97.2 billion annually in health care expenses and lost productivity [1].

Every year, about 70% of American smokers try to kick the habit. Of these, only 4.7% succeed [2]. Although pharmaceutical companies have introduced a variety of smoking cessation products such as a nicotine replacement patch, nicotine gum, nicotine nasal spray, and the medication Zyban, none of these products has facilitated a high rate of long-term smoking cessation. [3,4] Studies show, however, that when smokers combine various cessation techniques, quit rates increase. Accordingly, just as diseases like hypertension and diabetes often require more then one medication for adequate control, successful smoking cessation may require multiple therapies for success [5].

Studies have also shown that regardless of what methods smokers use to quit smoking, their efforts are more successful when teamed with some type of positive reinforcement. Quit rates increase when smokers receive support such as verbal or written physician encouragement, smoking cessation literature, customized computer generated messages, or behavioral therapy. When smoking cessation plans incorporate positive reinforcement on a long-term basis, quit rates can increase significantly [6,7,8].

The QuittingTime Watch (QT-Watch) has been developed to give smokers immediate and long-term positive reinforcement of their efforts to quit smoking. The QT-Watch looks like an ordinary wristwatch, with standard functions such as time, date and chronograph. It also tracks cigarette use and displays different messages every minute to encourage the wearer to quit smoking. The messages are tailored to the individual smoker, based upon the user’s current rate of smoking, the initial cigarette usage, and the designated quit date. The QT-Watch also features a timer, used to encourage the wearer to delay lighting a new cigarette. The timer adjusts its commands based on the wearer’s recommended smoking rate. Moreover, the QT-Watch features a smoking alarm, which sounds randomly once a cigarette is lit, signaling the wearer to extinguish his or her cigarette. The frequency of the smoking alarm increases if the daily number of cigarettes smoked exceeds the smoker’s daily goal.

Once smoking cessation has been achieved, the QT-Watch will continue to display positive messages encouraging the user to refrain from ever smoking again. Research indicates a relapse-prevention component significantly improves long-term rates of abstinence [9,10]. Thus automatic, 24-hour relapse-prevention messages should serve to increase quit rates over time.

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General-Executive Summary. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2000.
  2. Cigarette Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2000, MMWR Highlights, July 26, 2002 / Vol. 51 / No. 29
  3. Fiore, M.C., Smith, S.S., Jorenby, D.E., et al. (1994). The effectiveness of nicotine patch for smoking cessation: a meta-analysis. JAMA; 271:1940-1947.
  4. Hurd, R.D., Sachs, D.P.L., Glover, E.D., et al. (1997). A comparison of sustained release bupropion and placebo for smoking cessation. N Engl J Med; 337:1195-1202.
  5. Schwartz, J.L. (1987). Review and evaluation of smoking cessation methods: the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health Publication 87-2940
  6. Strecher, V.J., Krauter, M., Den Boer, D.J., et al. (1994). The effects of computer tailored smoking cessation messages in family practice settings. J Fam Pract; 39:262-270.
  7. Lennox A.S., Osman, L.M., Reiter, E., Robertson, R., et al. (2001). Cost effectiveness of computer tailored and non-tailored smoking cessation letters in general practice: Randomized controlled trial. BMJ; 322(7299):1396-1400.
  8. Russell, M.A.H., Stapelton, J.A., Hajek, P., et al. (1988). District programme to reduce smoking: can sustained intervention by general practitioners affect prevalence? J Epidemiol Community Health; 42:111-115.
  9. Fiore, M.C. (2000). A clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence: A US Public Health Service report. JAMA; 283:3244-3254.
  10. Irvin, J.E., Bowers, C.A., Dunn, M.E., Wang, M.D. (1999). Efficacy of relapse prevention: a meta-analytic review. JCCP; 67:563-570.1

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 Last Update: 10/04/03