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 .
Every year, about 70% of American smokers try to kick the habit. Of these,
only 4.7% succeed . 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 .
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.
- 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.
- Cigarette Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2000,
MMWR Highlights, July 26, 2002 / Vol. 51 / No. 29
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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;
- Fiore, M.C. (2000). A clinical practice guideline for
treating tobacco use and dependence: A US Public Health Service report.
- Irvin, J.E., Bowers, C.A., Dunn, M.E., Wang, M.D.
(1999). Efficacy of relapse prevention: a meta-analytic review. JCCP;