Quitting to smoke cigarettes isn’t easy, but you’ve already crossed the first and perhaps the tallest hurdle. You’ve decided that you need to stop and now you’re looking for ways to help you stay on your path. I’ve been at the same crossroads, not too long ago.
I had made up my mind, and I was thinking of ways to keep myself motivated, to stop myself from going for that next puff. So, being the super social person that I am, I pulled up the Play Store on my phone and started looking for apps that could be my support system. Apps that would help me get through this without another relapse.
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I came across a variety of apps that all claimed to be the best, which was frankly quite confusing. So instead of looking at the reviews and choosing one like a normal person, I installed all of them on my phone.
Here are some of the apps that I thought were quite useful in my quest to quit smoking for good.
Let’s kick things off with Flamy, the only quit smoking app that’s still on my phone and the one that I’m using to track my progress. With the app, I can easily see the amount of money I’ve saved since I quit smoking, the number of days of life that I’ve recovered and the total time I’ve spent as a non-smoker.
The app has a clean UI, which is one of the main reasons I chose this one over the rest. Also, it offers a ton of data that keeps me motivated. On the home screen, you see all of the details I mentioned previously, along with your most recent achievements and basic information about improvements to your health since you quit.
For a more detailed look at the health benefits, you can switch over to the next tab. Here, you’ll be able to clearly see how quitting has helped your body recover over time. The next tab lists all your achievements that are automatically unlocked once you quit and stick to your resolution.
Now if you crave after you start using the app, you get the option to log it in the following tab along with details like how strong was the desire to smoke, when it happened, how it made you feel and what potentially triggered the craving.
Logging your cravings will help you keep track of your triggers, and if you do it as soon as you get a craving, it’s quite possible that you might get over it by the time you finish logging it in. The last tab offers a couple of additional features, including motivational cards, some simple games to keep you distracted, and some beneficial tips that will help you stay on track.
The app offers two quit smoking programs — a 14-day challenge and one less everyday program. The 14-day challenge is the only option available in the free version, and I’d recommend it only if you don’t smoke too many cigarettes every day. If you’re smoking over ten cigarettes a day, I’d suggest that you gradually decrease the number to avoid physical discomfort from the nicotine withdrawal.
Smoke Free is another app that offers features in line with what you get with Flamy. The app has a similar dashboard on which you can see information like the time you’ve spent without smoking, the money you’ve not spent and other health improvements at a glance.
Much like Flamy’s desire log, Smoke Free has a Diary tab in which you can add notes about all your cravings. These diary entries are mapped out in a graph on the following tab, where you can easily keep track of your cravings.
The tab also has some helpful tips that you can use to avoid these cravings, triggers that might have resulted in the cravings and a couple of app recommendations that will keep you distracted when you have a craving.
The Missions tab in Smoke Free gives you tasks that you can pick up to keep motivation levels high after you quit. And finally, the Badges tab lists down achievements that you can help you stay focused on your goal. All of these features are available in the free version of the app, with the paid version offering a couple of additional features, including more missions to keep you on track.
Next up, there’s HabitBull — a habit building app which not only helps you quit smoking, but also allows you to form new habits over time. That makes the app really good for those who want to replace your smoking habit with something a bit more healthy and beneficial.
When you first set up the app, you get the option to select the habit you want to form or quit. Smoking can be found within the Health & Fitness section. During the setup process, you can also choose how you’d want to keep track of your habit.
You can either track it with a simple yes/no answer, track based on numbers (if you're gradually decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke or want to see how much money you’ve saved), and track with data from Google Fit (which isn’t really helpful with smoking).
Once you set it up, the app will remind you to stay focused on your goal every day until you develop the habit. The app claims that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. I wasn’t able to test these claims, but if you try out HabitBull for an extended period, let us know if it worked out well in the comments section below. You can also try out the app’s discussions feature to connect with people who are also trying to quit.
QuitNow! is another useful app that you can use if you want some form of community support to help you stick to your resolution. In terms of basic features, the app offers exactly what you get with Flamy and Smoke Free.
The app has a similar dashboard with the same basic information about your resolution to quit, an achievements section which lists down all that you’ve been able to achieve since you quit, and a health section which shows the real-time health benefits of quitting cigarettes.
But along with all that, the app has a Community section, which is essentially a live chat room full of other people who are using the app to put an end to their addiction. The app doesn’t allow you to take screenshots of the community section for privacy reasons, which is why I’ve not included images here, but you should definitely check it out.
You can use the community section to talk to people who are on the same journey, share what you’re going through since you quit, ask for help or motivation, and even offer advice to others based on your own experience. This feature is especially great for those of you who live alone and would like to talk to someone in your moment of weakness to help you get through it.
Rounding things off is Quitzilla — another handy app that will help you quit smoking and any form of addiction. Setting it up is quite simple, you just choose the icon of the addiction you wish to quit, select your motivation for quitting (money, time or event), set the time for when you quit and you’re good to go.
A new tab will be added to the home page and you can tap on it to see some helpful insights, including the time you’ve spent achieving your goal, your savings and a couple of motivational quotes.
The calendar widget within the tab shows you exactly when you quit smoking and the number of days you’ve gone without a cigarette. In case you falter and smoke a cigarette, you can add that directly to the calendar and the timers will be reset.
In comparison with the other apps on this list, Quitzilla is a bit too simple and doesn’t offer as much in terms of features. However, if you’re motivated enough you can make surely make do with what the app has to offer. Its only downside would be the annoying full screen ads that pop-up time and again, but you can get rid of those by purchasing the paid version.
Now that we’ve got the apps out of the way let’s take a brief moment to talk about how effective these apps actually are. While some may argue that they’re not helpful at all, a bunch of reviews on the Play Store suggest otherwise.
On top of that, a study on smoking cessation apps has also revealed that apps like these have many advantages, including “interactive and customizable tools to support smokers throughout the multi-stage process of quitting tobacco, including tools for self-monitoring, progress tracking, and daily reminders, in addition to social support.”
If nothing else, you can take Brian Koerber’s word for it, who successfully quit smoking using an app like this a couple of years ago. It hasn’t been too much time since I stopped smoking, but I know that as long as I’m motivated enough, I’ll not lay my hands on a cigarette again.
If you ever feel that you’re not motivated enough and the apps aren’t helping as much, you can also check out r/stopsmoking — a fantastic community which will definitely help you keep the inspiration levels high and the nicotine levels low.
Next up: I found that any form of meditation can really help with cravings. Check out the next article for a comparison between two amazing meditation apps that you should check out if you want to give meditation a shot.
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