So many people spend most of their awake time in front of their computers: we now shop online, find out mates, exchange recipes, check where are our kids, play, plan, bank and in general conduct our daily lives. So, there is no surprise that the health practitioners are trying to use online tools to give us something we actually need. The latest tool in the online health arsenal is the software called StopAdvisor – our last chance to stop smoking. This web-based program, which is still being tested, promises expert advice through the period of preparation for the quitting to the actual quitting and after. It achieves this by using a combination of personalized sessions and interactive menus. The system allows users to report their problems and issues during the quitting process, in order to assist the program to help them to get over the inevitable hurdles.
Preventable but deadly
According to the Surgeon General’s 2010 Report, smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of early death in the world. 85 percents of all lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking. The chemicals and toxins in tobacco damage human DNA, leading to cancer. Tobacco damages fallopian tubes in women causing miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and low birth weight. Tobacco smoke causes damage to blood vessels causing blood to clot and as a consequence causing stroke, heart attacks and sudden death. Some chemicals in tobacco smoke commonly inflame the fragile lining of the lungs, causing permanent damage and reducing lung”s ability to exchange air. This in turn causes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
There is no such thing as little smoke. Even second-hand smoke is dangerous. The best is never to smoke, and if you smoke, to stop as soon as possible. The longer you smoke, the more damage you are causing to your system.
There is a range of tools to help people to stop smoking, but a few of them are effective, unless they include behavior change intervention ” “ the help along the way. This is what makes StopAdvisor so potentially useful.
StopAdvisor is a “a theory-based interactive internet-based smoking cessation intervention”, according to the report of a group of British researchers, who followed the software development. StopAdvisor is developed through the analysis and synthesis of 19 theoretical approaches, 33 behavior change techniques, 26 web-design systems and 9 user-testing principles. To make StopAdvisor useful to all social groups, the original user-testing was done among low-income less educated smokers, who are considered very difficult to engage and influence.
The research team which is developing StopAdvisor is using LifeGuide, an open-source web-development platform, which allows them to test the software and to implement changes right away, based on the users” ™ feedback.
If you are still smoking and are interested in participating in the development and testing of the stop-smoking software, join the research at https://www.lifeguideonline.org/.