New Haven startup goBlueLabs believes it can. In December 2012, the company released a new app for iPhone and iPad, Craving to Quit, to the App Store. The product is designed to help you quit smoking by both educating you about how your addiction works, and providing you with tools and reminders to help you overcome cravings.
More broadly, goBlue Labs is developing technology that pairs an EEG headset with software to provide a brain training program that helps individuals focus and perform better. The product could have applications for athletes, the military (especially in treating PTSD), and for the treatment of substance abuse. This app is an early version of that technology.
The Craving To Quit app is part of “a 21 day smoking cessation program that includes a community of support” according to goBlue Labs. Their clinical research found that use of the program “in a group-based in-person training over 4 weeks yielded a 36% quit rate that largely persisted 4 months later (31%).” That’s a significantly better chance of breaking your habit.
How it Works
Craving to Quit works by first outlining the 21 day program, and uses video “tutorials” to explain the core concept of the program: using “mindfulness” to help you break your habit. After a brief setup process that includes a video
on how habits are formed, and how “mindfulness” techniques can be used when cravings hit, the app introduces two concepts: mindful smoking, and the Want-O-Meter. Using reminders through the day and tracking of your smoking activity, Craving to Quit strives to serve as a tool to help you ride out cravings, but also to think about why you are smoking when you do.
So does Craving to Quit deliver? We think it does, especially as it is currently only a beta version of the product.
1) Science: The app functionality is fairly good, but the value clearly rests in the science—this is not just an app designed to “remind” you to death. Based on neuroscience research coming out of a Yale University lab, the app’s functionality is more than just some nice looking screens.
2) Educational Content: Craving to Quit delivers more than just an app that sends you reminders to stop smoking. After you download the app, you begin your use of Craving to Quit with a tutorial that explains the science behind habits like smoking. Empowered with an understanding of how your mind creates habits, we found it easier to understand why the app was asking us to check-in, “mindfully smoke,” etc.
3) Community of Support: Everyone is motivated by different factors. Many smokers smoke because their friends, family, and peers smoke (aka “social” smokers). So Craving to Quit provides another community of friends, via a web portal, that supports your efforts to not smoke.
- Commitment Required: If you want to succeed in your quest to stop smoking, you have to be committed to it. No app will work for you unless you are willing to work toward your goal.
- Beta Software: While the app appears bug-free and well-designed, there were a few points in which we were confused by the functionality and reminders. There were also a few times we received reminders we couldn’t act on (in a meeting), and other times we would have liked reminders but didn’t receive one (typical times in the day a craving hit). We’d like to see a setup process that asks when the users typically smokes, and targets reminders for those times.
Price: $49 in the App Store. While the price is high for an app, it’s substantially less than other smoking cessation programs, gum, etc.
Rating: 4 of 5. Based on the competitive price of the solution, its foundation in brain science, its overall feature set, and its usability, we think goBlue Labs has done a great job with this beta version. If you’d like to try a free version of the Craving to Quit app, you can sign up to be a beta tester here.