Covenant Health launches app to help quit smoking
Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System’s parent organization, Covenant Health, is launching a new free smoking cessation mobile application just in time to help East Tennessee smokers with their New Year’s resolutions to quit.
The Covenant Health “Stop Smoking” app incorporates evidenced-based quitting strategies in an easy-to-use program that can be downloaded free on iPhones now and on Android phones in mid-January.
“As part of our not-for-profit mission, we are continually looking for ways to reduce the rate of smoking in East Tennessee and improve health,” said Jon Dalton, a member of Covenant Health’s smoking cessation task force and manager of Parkwest Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, where he sees firsthand the long-term detrimental health effects of smoking. “We hope the app will help more people, especially young adults, quit smoking.”
Through a grant from the Will Rogers Institute, Covenant Health’s seven acute care hospitals provide extensive stop smoking education, including free community programs. While the classes have a high success rate, overall participation has been on the downturn. Dalton believes the decline is partly due to a more mobile society. To counter this phenomenon, he suggested creating the smoking cessation app.
“Education is key to quitting, but it really has to fit in with somebody’s lifestyle,” Dalton said. “Today people want information when they need it and on their own schedule. As health educators, we need to adapt and be more flexible in how we provide education for our patients and public.”
Dalton said the smoking cessation app functions like a virtual class, with the added convenience of providing support, information and guidance any time of the day or night. A life preserver flotation device serves as the app’s icon.
“We have taken the science regarding smoking cessation strategies and created an app that allows you to customize a ‘quit plan’ based on your personal smoking habits,” he said.
After downloading the free app, users enter their personal data and smoking history, such as the number of cigarettes they smoke a day. Based on this information, the app recommends a quitting timeline, which the user can accept, change or adjust. Once the quit date is determined, the “life saver” app eases users into the stop smoking plan, suggesting a reduced number of cigarettes each day and tips for countering the urge to smoke with a healthful activity or other tried-and-true quit strategy.
Once a smoker quits, the app rewards him/her by calculating the number of days and years added back to their life and amount saved by not buying cigarettes.
For more information and links to download the app, visit www.covenanthealth.com/stopsmoking or call Covenant Health at 865-541-4500.