UA Researchers Release ‘See Me Smoke-Free,’ First Mobile App Designed to Help Women Quit Smoking, Eat Well and Get Moving

Participants needed for a follow-up study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, to evaluate app.

See Me Smoke-Free, the first multi-behavioral mobile health (mHealth) app designed to help women quit smoking, eat well and get moving, now is available for free on the Google Play Store. 

The Android phone app, officially released March 30, uses guided imagery to help women resist the urge to smoke, while encouraging them to make healthful food choices and increase their physical activity. The app can be downloaded at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.arizona.guidedimagery 

See Me Smoke Free was developed by a multi-disciplinary research team, headed by Judith S. Gordon, PhD, associate professor and associate head for research with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson

The goal of See Me Smoke-Free is to provide an overall sense of well-being and self-efficacy, said Dr. Gordon. “We want women to recognize that they are strong, they are beautiful, they are powerful and they’re in control of their lives,” she said. “And that they can use the app to engage in a healthier lifestyle.” 

“And that includes being smoke-free,” she added. 

The app is designed specifically for women, with input from women smokers, because studies have shown that women experience particular challenges when they quit smoking, like gaining weight, which may make quitting harder for them than for men, said Dr. Gordon. 

The main component of the app is a guided imagery program, which consists of several audio files. Guided imagery is an enhanced visualization technique that encourages users to imagine themselves smoke-free and capable of dealing with cravings. 

In addition to sight imagery, the app prompts women to use all their senses for a fully immersive experience. For example, users are guided through a farmers’ market, where they imagine seeing, smelling and tasting their favorite fruit or vegetable. 

Users are prompted to use the guided imagery files daily. The app also allows users to access additional information and resources on quitting, eating well and being physically active; record achievement of their daily goals; and display how many days they have gone without smoking, the intensity of their cravings over time and how much money they have saved. Users will receive daily motivational messages and tips for living a healthy lifestyle, and will get virtual awards for meeting their goals and engaging with the app.

 “The reason we developed this as an android app is two-fold,” Dr. Gordon said. “First, Android currently has the largest market share of smartphone operating systems. Second, we know that people with lower incomes are more likely to use Androids, and they are more likely to smoke.” 

See Me Smoke-Free was developed as part of a two-phase study. Participants are needed for the second phase of the study, which will evaluate the app. Additional information about the app and the research study is available at the website: www.seemesmokefree.org 

“A multi-behavioral intervention such as ours requires experts from a variety of fields,” noted Dr. Gordon. The study team includes Melanie Hingle, PhD, MPH, RD, assistant professor with the Department of Nutritional Sciences, UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Thienne Johnson, PhD, research associate with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UA College of Engineering, and the Department of Computer Science, UA College of Science; and Peter Giacobbi, PhD, associate professor with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the School of Public Health at West Virginia University in Morgantown. Jim Cunningham, PhD, an epidemiologist with the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, is the study’s methodologist and statistician.

See Me Smoke-Free is funded by a two-year, $366,400 National Cancer Institute grant, 1R21CA174639.