Despite the government's hard-hitting anti-smoking campaigns and the availability of helpful medications, U.S. smoking rates have barely budged in a generation about one in five American adults still smoke. Smoking remains our top cause of death and costs employers a staggering $4,350 per tobacco-using employee per year.[i]
What's happening: Smokers aren't getting the intensive, personalized guidance and support they need to overcome tobacco addiction. Fact is, tobacco companies engineer cigarettes to make them maximally addictive, so on their own, smokers are up against tall odds. Without help, only 4 to 7 percent of would-be quitters succeed.
Alere Wellbeing's Quit for Life® program, based on one-on-one phone coaching, boosts the odds of success to 47 percent. And now we've added one more powerful tool to our arsenal: the Quit For Life® mobile app. This free app for smartphone users supports smokers throughout the quit process, complementing the phone-based and web-based elements of our program.
The app reinforces the critical steps involved in Quit for Life: setting a quit date, identifying meaningful reasons to quit, choosing a medication, conquering cravings, and enlisting support from family and friends.
For example, the app prompts smokers to set a quit date about two weeks away, enough time to prepare but not so much time that their motivation wanes. To keep quitting foremost in the smokers minds, the app then counts the days left until the quit date.
The app also encourages smokers to reflect on why they are quitting. A quit based on nagging from family members or doctors won't last. Smokers reasons must be their own wanting to gain stamina to play with their children, to save enough money for an apartment upgrade, to avoid a life-insurance penalty for smokers. To help prevent relapse after they've quit, the app reminds smokers of these reasons.
The app also helps smokers cope with their top smoking triggers, whether it's stress, that morning cup of coffee, or the commute to work. Smokers can use the app to find distractions listening to music, calling a friend, taking a walk to help pass the three to five minutes an urge typically lasts.
Each day, the app sends smokers receives new tips, either to help them prepare to quit (Talk to an ex-smoker to help you stay motivated) or stay tobacco-free (Change up your morning routine to help with urges after waking). The quit tips are tailored to the number of days until the smoker's quit date or the number of days that have elapsed since that date.
Among the most motivating features of the app is the savings calculator. Before they quit, app users can calculate how much they'll save after 30 days, six months, and one year; post-quit, the calculator tallies actual money saved. The app also tracks to the minute how much time has passed since a smoker has given up tobacco.
We know from research and experience that all these features make a difference, and our Quit Coaches discuss these topics in depth on the phone with participants. But our coaches can't check in with your employees multiple times a day, every day. Our app can.
If you have employees who smoke, we hope youll encourage them to download this free app, available on both iOS and Android platforms. Nothing will more dramatically affect their health than quitting smoking. And nothing will more dramatically boost your bottom line than having a tobacco-free workforce.