Quitting is never easy but especially when it comes to cigarettes. There are numerous methods out there claiming to provide the perfect blueprint to help smokers quit, but in reality, many struggle for years trying to kick the habit. However, maybe something new is just around the corner.
People are now touting AI technology as everything from the world’s saviour to the impending apocalyptical takeover. Still, few have ever considered what it might be able to do to help people with addictions.
It turns out the researchers at East Anglia University are at least considering the possible uses of AI for smoking cessation. Their research so far shows they might well be on to something.
Vaping to Quit
Using a vaping product like a WAKA Vape is how many former smokers have tried to kick a cigarette habit once and for all. However, there isn’t enough research to confirm the full efficacy of vaping for smoking cessation.
The area that needs more research is dual usage—when somebody uses a vape and smokes cigarettes. Experts agree that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, but the best way to use vaping to quit smoking still isn’t straightforward.
Introducing ‘Puff Technology’
In 2021, a team at East Anglia University began an observational study that closely measured vaping habits and, in particular, explored dual use. This grey area has fallen through the cracks when it’s come to research.
The study involved developing a small device that users could screw onto specific vape devices. This piece measured the frequency and duration of vaping periods. It also monitored the time between each drag and how much power a person used per puff.
Once completed, the university carried out an additional 90-day trial. During the follow-up, participants completed a short daily online survey about smoking, vaping, social support, stress, alcohol consumption, and mood.
As expected, the results varied dramatically across the board regarding why people who were usually dual users chose not to dual-use on any given day. Multiple psychological, social and environmental factors can affect how much a dual user vapes and smokes – with vape satisfaction, self-efficacy, and strength of urges being the three most prominent.
While the research failed to pinpoint exact causes, experts have long assumed that individuals need a personalized quitting plan—that’s where AI enters the picture.
AI Development – ‘Level’
The outcome of this research has been the development of an AI tool called ‘Levl‘ designed by the team at East Anglia University and VaipIO. Like the prototype used in the study, users can attach a Levl device to the bottom of a vape and connect it to an app.
The app lets users track vaping and nicotine intake throughout the day. Vape users can decide to maintain a certain level, set a target, or place a cut-off ceiling that will shut down their vape if they reach it.
Levl calls it a Fitbit for your vape. While the technology is still raw and certainly needs developing further, it’s already providing an exciting and promising new approach to quitting.